The overturning of Roe v. Wade has claimed most of the headlines in the past few days, but Cincinnati's recently approved budget budget also features some notable news and a few broken records.
Cincinnati City Council unanimously passed the budget for fiscal year 2023 on June 23. The operating budget, worth more than $470 million, will include funds for police and fire recruit classes, a fully funded Citizens Complaint Authority and new programs aimed at strengthening nonprofits.
The budget is made possible by federal stimulus money from the American Rescue plan – a one-time source of $18.6 million.
Increases to the final budget include funds for the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, ArtWorks and pedestrian safety programs. The Urban League will be allotted $100,000, while ArtWorks will receive $150,000, fulfilling a request for a creative campus in Walnut Hills. The investment in pedestrian safety comes after a man was killed crossing Walnut Street in Over-the-Rhine in a marked crosswalk in May. The city will invest $100,000 or the Department of Transportation & Engineering to hire a full-time employee dedicated to pedestrian safety.
The FY23 budget includes a 2% increase for the Cincinnati Police Department. The funds will give police two recruit classes for a total of 88 new officers.
After years of complaints from residents, CPD will receive $2 million for part of the cost of relocating the department’s 70-year-old shooting range away from Evendale.
Public safety was also emphasized in the form of the new Alternative Response to Crisis Program, which provides unarmed mental health professionals for some non-violent 911 calls.
The Citizen Complaint Authority, the city's independent police oversight board, has a proposed budget of $1,297,140, slightly higher than the year before. The fund has more than doubled since 2017.
Aimed at alleviating youth violence, the budget will also invest in young people getting jobs.
“On top of our support for public safety resources, we’re making a record investment in youth employment and new career initiatives, to disrupt the pathways to violence and provide our children with the opportunity to build professional skills,” says Mayor Aftab Pureval in a statement.
About 30% of the general budget is allocated to the Cincinnati Police Department.
The Cincinnati Fire Department will see a 7% increase and will bring on a record 100 recruits as both the fire and police departments face high retirement numbers. CFD will also be allocated $3.4 million for a new fire training tower.
Commentary: Ohio's Black Environmental Leaders Association Advocates to Move the Lincoln Heights Gun Range: "Environmental justice is being able to live in a place where the only choices aren’t between gunshots and taking your children to the park. It is the right to live in an environment where the soil, water and air are clean and clear from lead."
The budget breaks another record with its Human Services Fund. The fund, which is administered by the United Way, will receive a record $8 million for FY23. The program uses an application process to issue organizations grants that align with the council’s priorities.
Included in this budget is funding for new programs like the “Boots on the Ground Fund” pilot program, which provides funds to smaller nonprofits.
Capitalizing on Intel’s new semiconductor facility coming to Columbus, the budget includes $7 million to prepare sites that could be used for high-tech manufacturing in the future here in Cincinnati.
The FY 2023 budget year starts July 1. Council will head into its summer recess after this week.