City of Cincinnati

Howard Wilkinson

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley promised a lot of action in his first State of the City address Thursday night - less gun violence, a greater emphasis on basic services to the neighborhoods and a reduction in the number of Cincinnati residents living in poverty, among other things.

And, Cranley promised, a city that is even more fun to live in than it is now. He went so far as to say he is appointing an unpaid, volunteer “Commissioner of Fun” for the city.

The developer and architect of the planned General Electric Global Operations Center showed preliminary drawings to Cincinnati's Urban Design Review Board, and board members were not impressed.

The five board members said they didn’t believe the architectural drawings of the 10-story building to be constructed on The Banks were distinctive enough; and that the building was too plain.

But, in the end, there is nothing the Urban Design Review Board can do about it.

A federal magistrate ruled this morning that Cincinnati's responsible bidder ordinance is invalid and that Hamilton County makes the rules for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).

The county owns the sewer system, but the city operates it.

The city and the county have been fighting for more than two years over the responsible bidder ordinance, which would force MSD contractors to have apprentice programs and pay into a pre-apprenticeship fund. Unions favor the ordinance, because many of them have apprentice programs.

  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.

City of Cincinnati

  Sworn in as mayor just under five months ago, John Cranley fought and lost the streetcar battle, successfully stopped the city’s parking lease agreement, proposed a fix for city’s pension plan and called for Cincinnati to be more immigrant friendly. Mayor Cranley sat down with Jay Hanselman to discuss those and other issues, and the challenges and opportunities he sees in the city’s future.

 

Hamilton County will go to federal court to try to settle a dispute with the city of Cincinnati over hiring practices for a massive Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) project.

Commission president Chris Monzel said the county will file its suit next week in U.S. District Court here.

"We're going to ask the court to weigh in on the relationship between the city and the county, particuarly on procurement issues,'' Monzel said.

The county owns MSD, but the city of Cincinnati operates it.

At issue is whether the county or the city gets to set policy for MSD.

Provided, City of Cincinnati

 

Mark Heyne / WVXU

The Ohio Board of Tax Appeals says the City of Cincinnati does not have to pay property taxes on city-owned golf courses.

The ruling comes after the city appealed a decision by the Ohio Tax Commissioner who had said otherwise.

The tax commissioner had said the golf courses were subject to tax because they are operated by a private, for-profit company. The city says the Tax Appeals Board's ruling will save the city $450,000.

The Tax Commissioner can appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Cincinnati is going to pursue Google Fiber--a service said to be up to 100 times faster than average broadband speeds--as a way to make the city's tech infrastructure more competitive.  Council member P.G. Sittenfeld made the announcement Tuesday at Roadtrippers, one of the companies supporting the effort.

James Fischer, CEO of Roadtrippers, made the case for faster broadband from his company's perspective.

 UPDATE:  The OKI board unanimously approved the funding plan at its meeting Thursday morning.

The OKI Regional Council of Governments board will vote Thursday on a first-of-its kind financing plan to rebuild the Interstate 71/Martin Luther King interchange.

OKI Director Mark Policinski says the plan calls for a loan from the state infrastructure bank.

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