Wednesday, December 08, 1999

Budget cut counterproposal made

Slash administration, not social programs, Winburn and Booth say

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A day after two Cincinnati councilmen advised cutting money to various social services, two other councilmen are pushing their own cuts.

        Councilmen Charlie Winburn and Paul Booth today will release their plan to slash more than $3 million from various city departments while still funding the social programs.

        “It's easy to cut social services,” Mr. Winburn said. “We should be cutting the bloated bureaucracy.”

  Cuts to the city budget proposed Tuesday by Cincinnati Councilmen Charlie Winburn and Paul Booth:
  • Zero-tolerance initiatives: $1.1 million.
  • Public service administration budget: $100,000.
  • Transportation service and engineering budget: $100,000.
  • Regional computer center: $300,000.
  • Architecture administrative budget: $161,000.
  • Recreation service hours reduction: $100,000.
  • Affirmative-action study: $550,000.
  • City buildings rehabilitation program: $100,000.
  • Planning department: $75,000.
  • Council personnel budgets: $3,000 each; $27,000 total.
  • Council budget-surplus programs: $25,000.
  • City manager's office budget: $50,000.
  • Clerk of council's budget: $45,000.
  • Safety director's administrative budget: $40,000.
  • Neighborhood services administrative budget: $25,000.
  • Office of contract compliance: $50,000.
  • Green-space management: $122,000.
  • Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention job training program: $20,000.
        The week-old City Council is struggling with how to trim the city's $656 million budget to avoid significant overruns that could cause cuts in basic city services five years from now.

        “Here is my first diet for the chubby administration,” Mr. Winburn said. “You are going to find out how serious (city officials) are when it comes to cuts.”

        As part of a two-year budget update last month, City Manager John Shirey recommended about $4.8 million in cuts, including shifting city inspections of day-care centers and nursing homes to the state. But even with those cuts, Mr. Shirey said the city faced a $17 million deficit in 2004.

        On Tuesday, Councilmen Phil Heimlich and Pat DeWine put forth a budget plan to cut an additional $3.4 million for the next five years, beginning with about $1 million in funding cuts to social service programs such as job training, art and youth programs.

        “I think Heimlich and DeWine moved in the wrong direction,” said Mr. Booth. “You can only do one year at a time.”

        Instead, he and Mr. Winburn have identified 18 programs — most of them in city departments — that should be trimmed, including council budget surplus programs, neighborhood services administration, council personal budgets and the safety director's budget.

        The only social program to make both lists of cuts was the Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention (SOAR) job training program. But Mr. Winburn and Mr. Booth want to reduce funding by $20,000 rather than the $195,000 recommended by Mr. Heimlich and Mr. DeWine.

        Councilwoman Minette Cooper, who chairs the council's finance committee, called the proposed cuts to social service programs “junk.”

        While she did not endorse the new cuts proposed Tuesday, she said the budget proposed by Mr. Heimlich and Mr. DeWine was “overzealous and hastily done.” Ms. Cooper said she wanted to review programs and departmental budgets before committing herself.

        As part of today's budget proposal, Mr. Winburn said he wants to freeze all funded vacant positions, saying the city has almost $8 million set aside for about 250 unstaffed positions.

        “He's trying to make an issue where there isn't an issue,” Mr. Shirey said Tuesday. “Every year we do the budget, we put in a vacancy factor.”

        In addition to a $5 million annual carry-over, 3 percent of the budget is factored for vacant positions. It totals about $8 million, Mr. Shirey said.

        And an employment freeze has been in effect since September, he said, although it is “selective.”

        On Tuesday, Mr. Shirey also introduced a new process for developing the 2001-02 budget. Under his plan, the council would go through a three-step phase described as “what ought to be,” “what is” and “how to” budget.

        The first step would involve an analysis of current conditions, the second would be developing a recommended budget and third would deal with how to get it done. The plan includes public hearings from June to December.

        Mr. Shirey said he also wants to expand public participation in the budget process and do “extra outreach” to community councils that do not ordinarily participate in the budget process.


Judge ducks blame for fatal furlough
Volunteers help keep restoration work at Union Terminal on track
Unsure future awaits Shirey
Who gets the lead in Marge, the movie?
Air museum shows Nazi rarity
Big-rig demand drives up pay, perks
Health Alliance takes all day to answer call
Legislators vote today on abortion restriction
Trial opens for Carlie's accused killer
U.S. to enter firearm lawsuits
- Budget cut counterproposal made
Drop school change plans, teachers union asks
Teens charged in bomb threat
Amelia Middle evacuated after threat
Patton calls for harmony
History merges with parade, parties
Teacher's quiet plea against jail makes the biggest impact
Top Taft aide leaves to boost GOP
Ensemble Theatre's 'Around the World' wizardry
Gift ideas for exercise fanatics
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Wooden Ramp could help Pleasant Ridge man
$4.5M levy proposed for firefighters
As development heats up in Woodlawn, fast food might, too
Birders will scour skies of county parks
Boy, 17, charged in Anderson Township stabbing
Hands placed on girl's throat
Hilltop plans on mine in Boone Co.
Kenton lost, hasn't paid suit
Lakota schools to ask voters for $52.7M in March
Lawyer: Drug may have killed
Lebanon mayor likes new team
Minister will return to face rape charges
Reds authority dies