Cincinnati City Council

Jay Hanselman

Mayor John Cranley presented a new budget Wednesday morning which closes a $22 million budget hole without lay-offs of city employees.

Cranley, in a press conference at police headquarters, said the $358 million general fund budget, if passed by city council, would be the first structurally balanced city budget in more than a decade.

“No gimmicks, no on-time revenue streams,’’ Cranley said, surrounded by several city council members and representatives of the police and fire departments and city employee union officials.

It was a close vote, but Cincinnati City council Wednesday approved a compromise that will allow a project to install protected bike lanes on Central Parkway from Clifton to downtown.

A compromise plan proposed by Vice Mayor David Mann passed on a 5 to 4 vote. It would take the bike lanes out of the travel lanes to maintain street parking between Ravine and Brighton streets to aid businesses in the area.

Cincinnati City Council will likely act Wednesday to either go forward or kill a plan to install protected bike lanes on Central Parkway.

Monday, council held a special session to have a second reading on an ordinance that would rescind an ordinance from a year ago entering into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to complete the bikeway project from Clifton to downtown.

  The mayor of a city can be considered its chief executive officer. But the power that office holds is determined by a city’s rules or charter, which defines what a mayor can, and cannot, do. Cincinnati adopted a “strong mayor” system of government 15 years ago. Now Cincinnati Councilman Christopher Smitherman is exploring another change, to what some call an “executive mayor” system.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are officially asking a federal judge to intervene in their  Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) dispute with Cincinnati.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to ask for a ruling on which body gets to set policies for the district.

The sewer district is owned by the county but operated by the city.

The sides have been at odds over hiring and procurement policies instituted by the city. County Commissioners argue the policies are unfair and in some cases illegal. City attorneys and a majority of council members disagree.

Provided, City of Cincinnati

A Charter Review Task Force is being formed to do the first comprehensive review of Cincinnati’s city charter since it was adopted nearly 90 years ago.

Council member Kevin Flynn, who chairs council’s rules committee, put out the call Tuesday for people to volunteer to serve on the task force, which will be expected to meet regularly for six months to a year before recommending charter changes to city council.

Howard Wilkinson

Cincinnati has nearly seen the end of brownouts in fire stations, with the addition of 41 new fire recruits who graduated last week and a department overtime budget of $2.5 million, Mayor John Cranley said in a city hall press conference Monday.

The new recruits will reduce the number of brownouts of fire equipment from five per day to anywhere from two to zero per day.

But Cranley and Fire Chief Richard Braun said in a city hall press conference Monday that is not good enough.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati Public Schools and the City of Cincinnati are joining forces. A new initiative called ACES -  Alliance for Community and Educational Success - aims to find ways the two can collaborate to improve schools and communities.

Howard Wilkinson

In an effort to stem the homicides that have plagued the city first the first of the year, Cincinnati police will increase police overtime, hire officers away from other departments, add a recruit class and revive a gang unit, Mayor Cranley and Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said this morning.

“We want people of this city to know that help is on the way,’’ Cranley said at a city hall press conference packed with neighborhood and community leaders, council members and police officers.

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