Thursday, May 8, 2003

City's plan ruffles county's feathers


Suburban Insider

Compiled By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Hamilton County Administrator David Krings, back from vacation in Florida, on Wednesday accused the city of Cincinnati of deliberately waiting until he was gone to roll out a controversial plan to replace the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.

"I believe by design it wasn't presented until I went on vacation," Krings said.

Krings was on the Economic Development Task Force, which put the plan together. However, he said, it was largely developed in subcommittees, none of which he took part in, and he never saw the finished product.

The plan, unveiled by Mayor Charlie Luken on April 23, calls for an independent, citywide economic development authority to replace the Port Authority. Commissioner Phil Heimlich supports the concept but says the county, too, needs help. Commissioner John Dowlin, meanwhile, is still railing against Cincinnati leaders for leaving the county out of decision-making.

"This is typical of how things happen in the city," Dowlin said Wednesday.

Krings said he has received reassurance that the plan - presented to City Council as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition - is really only a proposal for which the county can still suggest changes.

Cindi Andrews

  

Budget axes, tongues sharpen: Butler County commissioners asked for reaction - and got it.

When they criticized county officeholders for failing to respond to a Feb. 24 letter about budget woes, several officeholders pointed out that the letter had not specifically asked for a written reply.

Among the miffed politicos: Auditor Kay Rogers. She fired off a rapid - and characteristically blunt - response. "I am irate," her April 29 letter began.

Reading the letter at a commissioners' meeting last week, Commissioner Michael A. Fox turned to his fellow two commissioners and quipped, "Well, that's redundant."

Fox later said his remark toward the auditor - known for holding her own in any war of words - was meant "with much affection."

A much lower-key reply came from Prosecutor Robin Piper. He said his office had already cut costs, but he respected the commissioners' constraints. He pledged to meet the commissioners' 1-percent budget trim demand, but said any additional cuts could threaten the administration of justice.

"You can only spread the pancake batter so thin before you don't have a good pancake," he said.

Janice Morse

  

VOA fund-raiser: Speaking of pancakes, veterans, businesses and dozens of other West Chester residents and employees have been scrambling to prepare the Voice of America Museum off Tylersville Road for a breakfast fund-raiser Saturday.

The 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. event costs $5 per person (children under 7 are free) and features free, guided tours of the museum and door prizes.

All proceeds will benefit the museum.

Jennifer Edwards

  

Yellow means gone? Along Middletown roadways, the color yellow may go from meaning "slow down" to "so long" when it comes to outdoor advertising.

City Council members this week heard a first reading of an ordinance that would largely ban portable, yellow outdoor advertising signs popular among many small businesses, which mount the signs on trailers and position them along Middletown's roadways in hopes of catching the eyes of potential customers.

Council has wrestled with the issue of regulating such signs for two years.

Businessman Steve Dillman blasted some members' rationale that the city is losing out on prospective new businesses, developers, and residents because the signs lend a cluttered look to many of the city's roadways.

"Let's not confuse yellow signs as the reason people won't move to Middletown," Dillman said in reference to the city's stagnant population of recent years. He accused council members of unfairly targeting small businesses with the ordinance.

Michael D. Clark

Send insider news and tips to reporter Jennifer Edwards: jedwards@enquirer.com, fax 755-4150 or call 755-4147.




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