Cincinnati City Budget Passes

( CINCINNATI, OH ) -- After a morning session of council passed most of the budget, Mayor John Cranley used his veto stamp on a portion of the budget that would have taken funding away from police overtime to add to programs, such as the Center for Closing the Health Gap.

Six members of council later overrode the mayor's veto. Then, in a session of the Budget & Finance Committee, the funding was found elsewhere for those programs and the police overtime was left untouched. However, funding was severely cut in many areas and programs to make up for the over $30-million shortfall.

A new billboard tax was added that some companies say they will fight in the court of law if need be. They claim the new tax will take 10% of their revenues and the tax is not legal. Beyond that tax, taxes will be raised on parking in some areas around the city, commercial hauling, building and permit fees, and stormwater rates.

Councilwoman Amy Murray says she disagrees with the raising of so many taxes and adding new taxes, because she feels that is taking the responsibility of the government and putting the burden on the taxpayers. An argument was raised by Councilman Jeff Pastor that these increased taxes affect the poorest citizens the worst, but Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard said she wouldn't be lectured by Councilman Pastor, and that he did not speak for all the poor in Cincinnati.

The streetcar was funded with roughly the same amount of money as this year, with some of the funds allocated for a streetcar director with a $150,000 salary. Some of SORTA's funds are being diverted to make that possible. Council also voted for booting of cars to be eliminated.