Cincinnati City Council passes 2011 budget - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Cincinnati City Council passes 2011 budget

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The city of Cincinnati finally passed the 2011 budget, after about six hours of additional debate between city council members Thursday night.

A final vote was held shortly before 11 p.m. on Thursday.

The plan includes no police or firefighter layoffs. It also does not call for a proposed $20 monthly trash fee. Instead, the city is tapping into reserve funds and borrowing money to fill the $60 million deficit.

"There were many disagreements over some fundamentals, so what we're challenged to do over the coming year is deal with some structural changes that are long over due," said councilwoman Roxanne Qualls.

Only one motion during the final debate of the budget failed to pass was a motion that would have combined the Cincinnati Parks department with Cincinnati Recreation.

The budget's major cuts include nearly $2 million of police overtime and, after June, the city will eliminate funding for school nurses. It also includes the closure of 19 city pools.

"We either had to layoff 790 people - that would have been devastating we can't do that. I would rather have a structurally unbalanced budget with a view toward putting together a plan that could work for 2012," said councilman Charlie Winburn.

"It is kicking the can down the road," said councilwoman Laure Quinlivan. "We will be here again next year so why are we doing it. We're doing it because there are only four people on this council who are willing to make those tough choices."

"We cannot continue to do this. This is financial suicide," said councilwoman Leslie Ghiz. "I'm not jeopardizing the public safety of this city and I'm glad we've found a way to keep that from happening."

Council had been going back and forth on the budget for several weeks, with the major sticking points being police and firefighter layoffs and the trash collection fee and managed competition for garage pickup.

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