Cincinnati City Council passes 2010 budget with no layoffs

Posted by Christi Reynard - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Council has approved a 2010 budget.

Despite a $51 million shortfall, the budget now heading to full council does not include layoffs or union concessions.

The approved budget includes $23 million in cuts, including a decrease in overtime for police officers, unpaid days for council and the mayor and a cut of $400,000 in office supplies.

The city also deferred two longevity payments to AFSCME for one month, taking them off the 2010 books and putting them on the 2011 books, and also delayed police comp time payments 1 to 2 years. This enabled them to not have to ask the unions for concessions or lay anyone off.

City Manager Milton Dohoney proposed a budget a few weeks ago which included more than 300 layoffs including police officers and firefighters.  He also recommended a trash collection fee.

But Council has decided to fill the $51 million hole in other ways, including a controversial move that involves using $8.2 million in the working capital reserve.  That's the critical fund the city would use in the case of a "catastrophe" like the Hurricane Ike windstorm. Using money from the capital reserve fund also affects the city's bond rating, and determines the interest rate for when the city borrows money. However, a spokesperson for councilwoman Laketa Cole says the bond rating will not be affected because there is still five percent in the reserve fund.

Dohoney calls the budget "not structurally sound."

The budget passed council by a vote of 5-4. Those voting 'yes' were Cecil Thomas, Roxanne Qualls, Laure Quinlivan, Charlie Winburn and Laketa Cole. Those voting 'no' were Leslie Ghiz, Chris Bortz, Jeff Berding and Chris Monzel.

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