Public speaks out on Cincinnati's proposed 2010 budget

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - 315 city jobs are on the chopping block as Cincinnati City Council tries to cut $51.5 million from the 2010 budget.

Wednesday night, it was City Council's turn to listen. Hundreds of Union representatives, department heads and residents turned out to voice their opinions.

If the budget passes as is, police would have to cut 112 positions.

"We keep hearing about economic development," said local Fraternal Order of Police President Kathy Harrell. "I can tell you this if we'll be out 112 police officers and demote 25 police sergeants. No one will ride your trolley, Mayor, and no one will visit your casino."

The local firefighters union would have to cut 46 positions.

"Closing a fire house is a dangerous practice as we learned in 2004," said local firefighters union President Marc Monahan. "It will lead to an increase in response time as well as a decrease in not only the safety of firefighters but the citizens of Cincinnati."

City workers' union Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees or CODE would have to cut 13 positions.

"Continuing on this path of destruction will cost the city a lot more than five minutes to wait on the bus or the $851,000 in CODE concessions," said CODE President Diana Frey.

But Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney said that still won't be enough to balance the $353.5 million budget. Dohoney is suggesting a 10% slash in spending and restructuring several departments including public services.

"When your streets are covered in snow and ice and they tell you it's a snow emergency, don't come out, it's too dangerous," said Cincinnati sanitation worker Charles Dorcas. "Our public service employees are out there cleaning away. Not only for the citizens but for police and fire to make it to those homes, to make it to those hospitals, and we keep getting ignored."

Mayor Mark Mallory said it's going to take some tough decisions to balance this budget. Still, many of the people who came to Thursday's meeting said cutting funding for services that make life better shouldn't be an option.

In case you missed Thursday's meeting, there will be three other chances for you to weigh in.

The next public meeting will be held Monday at 1p.m. at City Hall inside council chambers. The second will be held December 9th at the Hirsch Recreation Center in Avondale at 6p.m., and the last meeting will be held December 15th at Pleasant Ride Recreation Center at 6p.m.

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