Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory: 'This is not a game' - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Mayor Mallory: 'This is not a game'

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Cincinnati Mayor Mallory said during a news conference on Tuesday morning that the city will be forced to layoff employees if the parking plan goes on the ballot.

City Council approved a deal that would give the city $92 million up front and $3 million a year to lease the parking.

However, a group of citizens filed a lawsuit, saying the plan should go on the November ballot. Judge Robert Winkler issued a permanent injunction on the lawsuit last week, preventing the city from moving forward with the plan. The city has filed an appeal.

A petition is now circulating to get enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

"If enough people sign this petition, it will result in layoffs to police officers and firefighters," said Mayor Mallory. "This is not a game."

Mallory said the funding from the parking plan would balance the city's budget through 2015. Without the parking plan, he said, the city will not have the funds to balance the budget. He added that one project that was scheduled to begin with funding from the parking plan - the renovation of the Kenzie Apartments in Mt. Auburn - has already fallen through due to the delay from the lawsuit.

Some of the citizens who filed the lawsuit have accused Mayor Mallory of threatening citizens. However, Mallory said he is not threatening anyone, but instead giving citizens a reality.

"If the parking plan goes to the ballot, we will be forced to lay off city employees, including police and firefighters," he said.

The City Solicitor is hoping to have a ruling on the city's appeal in the next two to three weeks.

The parking petitioners have until April 5 to get their 8,522 signatures to put the issue on the ballot, otherwise it is a moot point.

The city's budget and finance committee has called a special meeting for Wednesday at 1:15 p.m.

For a full breakdown of the city's parking plan, follow this link - http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/parking/parking-system-modernization/.

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