New City Council takes on divisive issues - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Upcoming issues for new City Council

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Cincinnati's newest city council has much more than just the streetcar project on their agenda in both the short term and the long term.

They're going to have to take up some very divisive issues. Think back to some of the things the last council had on their plates.

They were dealing with a budget shortfall and the threat of laying off first responders in an effort to fill some of that gap.  They were also deal with problems with the city's pension plan.  On top of that, they were working on a deal to sell off the city's parking, which Mayor John Cranley has already announced will be canceled.

It's no doubt this new council will be just as busy.

"The question is not if we can solve big problems, but simply, what problems will this generation of leaders step forward to solve," said Mayor John Cranley.

A streetcar project on the rocks.  Violence in the city's neighborhoods.  Funding the city's pension plan.  Working on a budget that, just this year, proposed layoffs to balance it.  Those are some of the problems facing this council, it's three new members, and a new mayor.

FOX19 asked: "How do you guys feel going into this new council that you will be able to tackle these issues?

"We don't have any choice.  They're too important not to.  Some of them are very, very hard.  We have to keep searching until we find a sensible solution that the community will support," responded David Mann, new council member and vice-mayor.

What is the hardest and most important issue they'll have to deal with?

The three new council members agree the city's financial situation is near the forefront.

The fiscal stability of the city.  So, the pension and structurally balancing the budget," said council member Amy Murray.

"I think, ultimately, the hardest issue's going to be the pension plan," Mann said.

"We're not going to wait until a month before the budget has to be passed to start working on it.  We're going to start working on it right away," said council member Kevin Flynn.

By working together, the new leadership in city hall believes these problems are ones with resolutions, no matter how long some of them may take to solve.

"The torch has passed to a new generation of leadership, and it is our turn to unify for strength and purpose," Cranley expressed.

Sunday was just day one of this new regime, with a long road ahead.

"The pressure's on us to use those four years wisely," Mann told FOX19.

As for the streetcar issue, it's definitely the biggest issue they need to tackle right now.  Cranley told FOX19 today he hopes to deal with the contentious issues, like the streetcar, by the end of the year in order to start 2014 with a "clean slate."

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