Hamilton County passes budget

Posted by Trina Kinstler - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County commissioners passed their 2009 budget on Monday, despite being faced with a $31 million deficit.

Commissioners say the budget is the lowest its been in almost a decade.

Here are some highlights of the budget:

  • No new taxes
  • Furloughs for top management
  • Salary give-backs
  • No more free parking for elected officials
  • Slashing take home cars, etc.

Despite the deep cuts, Commissioners say they are committed to preserve and minimize the effect on economic development and public safety.

Commissioners made other cuts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, and reprogrammed those dollars to public safety priorities such as the Sheriff's department, Prosecutor's Office (Project Disarm), and Hazardous Materials and SWAT training efforts. Future revenues and savings will be allocated to similar goals-particularly corrections and other core public safety needs.

Commissioners also worked to identify numerous options like furloughs, deferrals of raises and the like to reduce the number of layoffs at the county.

"In the midst of a challenging economy and its impact on our budget we have, none the less, fulfilled our commitment to public safety; reduced the loss of jobs; and provide a path to grow the local economy and with it revisit these issues as our revenue posture improves," Commission President Todd Portune said.

Commissioners also focused on economic growth by continuing to invest in the County's economic development efforts as part of long-term strategy.

"The only way we're going to solve our budget problem is to grow our way out of them," Commissioner David Pepper said. "We must compete for every job, every business, every development, and every resident we can-and we must be well-positioned to do that."

Despite a balanced budget for 2009, Commissioners continue to explore a number of other reforms, efficiencies, and revenue options that might help us in the coming years, such as: "pay to stay" in the jails; reducing spending on commodities; internet advertising; managed competition and shared services.