Cincinnati City Council

Earlier this year some Cincinnati Council members and city public school officials announced plans for joint meetings.  The second such session was held Monday night and another is likely to be held next month.  

The effort is called ACES, or Alliance for Community and Educational Success.  Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld was one of the organizers.

  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

 

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.

Not surprisingly, more homeless people have been seeking refuge from the bitter cold temperatures at Cincinnati's winter shelter. 

About 60 beds are used at the Drop Inn Center and another 40 are located at Prince of Peace Church in Over-the-Rhine.  They are available from December through February.  

Officials told a city council committee Monday so far this winter about 600 different people have stayed at the shelter.  That's the same number served all of last winter.  The majority of them are males and range in age from 18 to 59. 

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.


Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners say they're willing to work with the city but when it comes to making Metropolitan Sewer District decisions, they're in charge.

In a resolution passed Wednesday the board agreed to set inclusion goals similar to the aim of the city's Responsible Bidder ordinance. The county says that ordinance is unfair. It also dislikes the city's Local Preference policy and says it's illegal.

Update 12/18/13 @ 9:30 PM: 

Cincinnati Council will likely vote Thursday on whether the city's controversial streetcar project will continue. 

Construction has been on hold since December 4th.  Now the group will decide whether to let work resume or finally pull the plug on the plan. 

So far the city has spent $34 million on the streetcar project.  An independent audit firm reported Wednesday it will cost anywhere from $16 to $46 million to cancel the streetcar or about $69 million to complete it. 

Jay Hanselman

A task force could soon be reviewing Cincinnati's city charter and coming up with recommendations to bring it up to date.  Council's Rules and Audit Committee approved the study Tuesday.  

Chairman Kevin Flynn said the action is long overdue.

“We always have approached the charter piece meal rather than comprehensively, so I think it is something will be good,” Flynn said.

  Cincinnati’s new mayor and city council were sworn in Sunday, and, as expected, most of their focus this week has been on the streetcar. Just yesterday, council voted to suspend construction while an audit is done to determine the costs involved in continuing or abandoning the project. We hear arguments for stopping the project from Vice Mayor David Mann and Council Member Kevin Flynn.

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