Cincinnati mayor unveils proposed operating, capital budgets

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 7:17 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Mayor John Cranley unveiled the city’s proposed operating and capital budgets Thursday.

“This budget is about growth, small business support, civil rights and better public health,” Cranley said.

Cincinnati Health Commissioner Melba Moore, Urban League President & CEO Eddie Koen and community organizations and leaders were in attendance.

Cranley says the city must work to build up the African American community. He announced a $1 million investment in the Urban League to work with small businesses that have been hurt by the shutdowns.

Koen says 95% of African-American owned businesses did not get funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We are at a state of emergency," he said.

Crystal Kendrick is the owner of The Voice of Your Customer. It’s a small business in the West End hit by the coronavirus.

She is cautiously optimistic about the proposed $1 million investment. “Please allow some flexibility in how these business owners can use these small dollar amounts,” Kendrick said.

Like other cities across the state, Cincinnati is grappling with major and sudden losses of income tax revenue as a result of an economic shutdown to try to stop the virus from spreading. The budget deficit is estimated to be about $91 million at last check.

Now, Cincinnati leaders must find ways to make cuts while continuing to try to provide as many services as possible during this unprecedented time.

It’s not clear yet what the operating budget will be. The one for this year was $417 million.

Earlier this year, the mayor announced furloughs and budget cuts.

City Manager Patrick Duhaney said the coronavirus cost the city $75 million in revenue. That is 20% of the city’s operating budget.

Duhaney says essential services such as police and fire will continue and there will be no layoffs.

This new budget does not extend furloughs.

‘Extreme and devastating:' City furloughs 20 percent of workers, 1,700 employees

The deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville have prompted calls to defund police departments.

However, the Cincinnati Police Department will get a slight increase, from $151.7 million to $152.6 million.

Floyd’s death also has sparked a global movement over police brutality and racial prejudice.

The city imposed a nightly curfew for more than a week after protests the last weekend of May, while mostly peaceful according to police, turned violent and destructive at times.

Protests are still being held in the Tri-State over his death, including one tonight in Blue Ash.

So far, the city has incurred $426,361 in overtime costs related to the protests, city records show.

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