Council votes to cut $20 million from budget - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Council votes to cut $20 million from budget

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - By a 5 to 4 vote, Cincinnati city council decided how to cut $20 million from the city's budget.

Cuts include layoffs, shift changes and department concessions. But there's still no word about furloughs involving city unions.

One of the biggest issues at Wednesday's meeting was police and fire cuts. A lot of programs were scaled back, but union reps say they fear there a lot more to come.

"We're outnumbered," said councilwoman Leslie Ghiz. "There are four of us on one side and five on the other and they are going to pass this no matter what we think."

On the chopping block is yard waste pickup, which will be reduced to twice a month rather than weekly.

Council accepted $1 millon in consesions from police and $1.2 million from fire.

The city will also spend $6.4 million set aside in a rainy day funds and continuing to ask all city employees for six unpaid days off.

"The point is that you can't ask people to do that. That is a bottom line," said Ghiz. "You do that when you hit the ground and you have no where else to go and they won't do that. They won't do what is necessary."

"It's always easy to point fingers and throw rocks from the outside, go outside the finance committee meeting and talk to the press, sit at your desk and Twitter than it is to offer real solutions," said councilwoman Laketa Cole.

Police union president Kathy Harrell pointed out that furloughs still may not be enough.

"You're going to ask us for six days in 2009 and supposedly 10 days in 2010 and we asked the city manager if every city employee including the unions gave you six days including the unions which is going to generate them $4.2 million, are you going to guarantee there aren't any layoffs? He says, 'I can't guarantee that," said Harrell.

Firefighters union - Local 48 president Marc Monahan agrees and says the city should first cut its "PR programs and other fluff"before asking emergency responders to say home for more than a week.

"It will be interesting the city manager will come to me and ask for concessions and my membership will vote but what i'm seeing here today i don't see us giving up those days," said Harrell.

Police and fire unions have said they hope to meet with the city manager in coming days and weeks.

Another public forum will be held Thursday night at the Evanston Recreation Center at 6 p.m.

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