Cincinnati Police Get $10 Million Boost in Proposed 2024 City Budget

Mayor Aftab Pureval announced three new “programs for financial freedom” during the budget announcement.

May 26, 2023 at 5:55 pm
click to enlarge Mayor Aftab Pureval and City Manager Sheryl Long present the city's Fiscal Year 2024 budget on May 26 at City Hall. - Photo: Madeline Fening
Photo: Madeline Fening
Mayor Aftab Pureval and City Manager Sheryl Long present the city's Fiscal Year 2024 budget on May 26 at City Hall.
The first draft of the next Cincinnati budget includes increases for the Cincinnati Police and Fire Departments but a decrease to the overall General Fund as the city endures rising inflation and braces for a possible recession. As the pandemic continues to fade in the city's rearview, so do American Rescue Plan dollars once used to fill holes in the city's budget.

The total Fiscal Year 2024 budget that Mayor Aftab Pureval and City Manager Sheryl Long presented on May 26 is $1.59 billion – $1.28 billion for basic city operations, and $302.9 million for capital needs. July 1 is the start date for the finalized budget.

The city's General Fund operating expenses have continued to rise at 6.9% of the city’s budget, but the General Fund as a whole will drop 5.9% in the new budget from $560.3 million down to $527.3 million.

Police and Fire

Combined, police and fire make up well over half of the city's General Fund, about 66%. 

FY2024 would allocate $180.5 million to CPD, a 6.7% budget increase from last year, or about $10 million. CFD would be allocated $148 million, a 2.5% increase of about $3.5 million.

Long has proposed three police recruit classes and four fire recruit classes over the next eighteen months, amounting to $1.9 million to recruit about 160 police officers and 100 firefighters.

Simultaneously, the Citizens Complaint Authority, CPD’s oversight board, has a proposed 7% increase from last year, or about $1.3 million.
The Alternative Response to Crisis program, which is a new program that provides non-police response to calls for mental health emergencies, will also get a boost in funds.


The budget includes $1.5 million for the city's affordable housing trust fund, which is funded by the short-term occupancy tax from Airbnbs, VRBO rentals and the like. That tax is adding $1.5 million to the budget, more than double from last year.

The budget draft also includes $1 million for the "access to counsel" program that offers legal support and emergency housing to renters facing eviction.

Another million will go toward a new nine-member Special Code Enforcement Unit that would fund tenant protections, housing inspections and blight enforcement. The Small Scale Rental Rehabilitation Loan Program would receive $550,000 to help landlords of small rentals bring their properties up to code. Middle-income homeowners can get home-repair help via the Home Enhancement Loan Program (HELP), which is getting $500,000 in the budget.
The mayor made clear in his State of the City address that he’d be taking on negligent landlords head-on, and he’s since filed lawsuits against multiple landlords, including the owners of the Williamsburg of Cincinnati Apartments & Townhomes for "maintaining substandard living conditions at the premises."

New programs

Mayor Pureval announced three new “programs for financial freedom” during the budget announcement, including:

-$1.5 million for medical debt relief
-$250,000 to go towards a guaranteed income study
-$375,000 to go towards child education savings accounts

Pureval said children with an education savings account are four to six times more likely to attend college, and that the program could help 500 to 1,000 students annually. He said the number of families who could be helped by the medical debt program is significantly higher.

“Medical debt is one of the largest categories of delinquent debt for one in three residents,” Pureval said. “We have the potential to wipe out medical debt for 30,000 Cincinnati families. That is enormous.”

A new skate park will be built somewhere in the city using $250,000 in funds from the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, but the mayor said another $250,000 will need to be raised to fully fund the project.
“We’re talking about a skatepark that is primarily designed for skateboarders but can be used by other skate hobbyists,” Pureval said. “There is no location that has been determined for this yet.”

The possible sale of the Cincinnati Southern Railway to Norfolk Southern

The city and the board of the Cincinnati Southern Railway are asking Cincinnati voters to approve a $1.6 billion sale of a city-owned railway to controversial rail giant Norfolk Southern. The vote, which could possibly hit ballots in November, would green light a flow of funds towards the city's crumbling existing infrastructure, but leave the Cincinnati Southern Railway owned by Norfolk Southern, who is still embroiled in the controversial train derailment that left the village of East Palestine, Ohio, in a toxic haze.

The mayor said the sale is crucial to the keep the city's infrastructure intact, but that the current budget won't be impacted by the result of a vote.

"The decisions that we have to make today for infrastructure are not impacted by the sale of the railroad, because we have X amount of dollars to use for infrastructure. It it nowhere near the amount of money we need to account for the $400 million in deferred capital maintenance. So all we can do right now within the current fact pattern we have is prioritize and triage the most critical infrastructure needs."

How to give feedback on the budget

The city administration will present the recommended budget to council's Budget and Finance Committee on May 30. Council has until June 30 to pass the final version of the budget.

In the meantime, citizens can give feedback on the proposed budget outside regular council meeting hours during a public hearing on June 5 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Read the full recommended operating budget below:

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