CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. presented his recommended budget for FY 2014-2015 to Mayor Mark Mallory on Thursday.
Mayor Mallory will present it to city council. Council must pass a budget before June 1 in order for it to take effect July 1.
Dohoney says the budget was construction in light of the lack of revenue from the Parking Modernization and Lease, approved by the majority of City Council but held up in litigation.
The Recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 General Fund Operating Budget is $352.6 million. Overall, the $35 million gap was closed through staff reductions; reduction of funded positions that are vacant; furlough days for City Management; reductions to funding to outside agencies; departmental savings; use of casino money; use of carryover from the 2013 fiscal year; and a series of 2014 expenditure reductions and 2014 revenue adjustments and enhancements.
Expenditure reductions of $20.4 million are recommended in FY 2014 when compared to the 2013 Continuation Budget (the amount needed to keep service delivery at 2013 budgeted levels).
"While balancing a budget deficit with mostly cuts is not preferred, the timing of the new fiscal year coupled with the timing of the litigation over the parking deal makes it the only real option with a number this large," said Dohoney. "Our goal is going to be to recall staff as soon as possible and provide the best customer service we can deliver for the citizens in the meantime. We have a dedicated and professional city workforce, so I know they will do their best and I'm sure the community will work with us as well."
Dohoney's budget recommendation reduces the projected Police Department layoff numbers from 149 to 66. Fire personnel layoffs have been reduced from 118 to 71.
"One layoff is too many," said a representative from the Local 48 firefighters union.
The number of non-sworn layoffs is being reduced to 64 people. In addition, 59.9 full-time equivalent vacant positions are being eliminated. Under this scenario, there are no planned police or fire recruit classes. Further, because the total number of layoffs was reduced from earlier projections, the layoff costs are $3.5 million.
A total of $11.8 million will be saved in FY 2014 through the combination of sworn personnel layoffs and the elimination of planned recruit classes within both the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) and the Cincinnati Fire Department (CFD). Within the CPD, elimination of the planned recruit class of 50 to take place in FY 2014 will save $2.7 million. Fire personnel cuts will generate a total of $3 million in savings in FY 2014. This will lead to an estimated 10 brownouts a day in which one truck in a firehouse does not run.
The Police reductions take staffing levels to the minimum number before any personnel paid for by the COPS Hiring Grant from the Department of Homeland Security would be laid off. Layoffs in the Fire Department do trigger a default in the City's current SAFER grant from FEMA, requiring repayment of money spent to date in the amount of $1.6 million. The total grant to be forfeited is $5.9 million, as is the second grant of $6.2 million. After full repayment, the City could apply for another grant, if an additional funding round is offered.
Reducing the service levels of various programs throughout the City organization including the elimination of positions within the Health Department's Community Health Environmental Inspections programs, the elimination of positions within the Law Department, and the reduction of part-time staffing within the Department of Recreation; these will result in savings of $1.7 million during FY 2014.
The elimination of 17 vacant full-time positions in various departments not counted in other reduction categories will generate $1.9 million in savings during FY 2014. In addition, multiple positions throughout the City organization will be held vacant for a portion of FY 2014 to generate an additional $700,000 in savings during the period. These vacant position eliminations and prolonged position vacancies will further challenge departments that have already experienced significant funding and position reductions in prior budget years.
These $1.5 million in reductions help to preserve other City programs and services that have been deemed a higher priority by stakeholders through the Priority-Driven Budgeting exercise.
- Human Services Policy funding is reduced by $721,150 to provide a total funding level of $1 million for Human Services agencies and $100,000 for the Center for Closing the Health Gap.
- Neighborhood Support Program (NSP) and Neighborhood Business District (NBD) Funding is reduced by a total of $279,950.
- funding for the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce is reduced by $75,000 to provide a total funding level of $100,000.
- Funding for the African American Chamber of Commerce is reduced by $50,000 to provide a total funding level of $100,000.
- Funding for the Greater Cincinnati Film Commission is reduced by $25,000 to provide a total funding level of $50,000.
- Funding for Keep Cincinnati Beautiful is reduced by $11,550.
- Funding for the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance to perform reduced cost home energy audits for City residents will be eliminated, which will save $150,000.
- The Urban Agriculture program within the Office of Environmental Quality will be eliminated, which includes $35,000 for the Cincinnati Civic Garden Center and $15,000 for an outside, urban agriculture consultant ($50,000 total).
- A contract with Hamilton County Social Services to provide services related to the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) will be eliminated, which will save $50,000.
As City government funds programs from a variety of dedicated sources other than the General Fund, the Administration is recommending seeking reimbursements from other appropriate funding sources such as capital projects, restricted funds such as the Income Tax-Infrastructure Fund and the Sawyer Point Fund, and the 911 Cell Phones Fee Fund. While the shift of these resources will leave less funding available for other uses within these funding sources, this means of General Fund expenditure reductions has limited the negative impact to stakeholders.
A total of $1.1 million in savings will be generated through the combination of increasing employees' cost share for healthcare from the current 5% to 10%, reducing the cost of living adjustments (COLAs), and implementing cost savings days for executive and senior level management, including the City Manager, within departments that receive funding from the General Fund. This equates to a 1.9% reduction in salary.
Miscellaneous personnel reductions that include reductions to non-sworn overtime, miscellaneous employee benefits savings, and elimination of miscellaneous positions will generate approximately $0.5 million in FY 2014. In addition, miscellaneous non-personnel reductions that include a $100,000 across-the-board reduction to non-local travel and training, a reduction to temporary personnel, and reductions to printing services and office supplies throughout the City organization will generate an additional $0.5 million in savings during FY 2014.