The city budget ran an $18 million surplus for the fiscal year ending June 2014, City Manager Harry Black said last week. The extra money is the result of budgetary reductions worth $7.9 million as well as a $5.9 million boost to the city’s revenues.
Black outlined ideas for spending the extra money in an Oct. 14 memo, including using $4 million to repay neighborhoods the city borrowed money from in 2011, putting $4.25 million in an emergency fund for worse-than-usual winter weather and other unexpected situations, setting aside more than $3 million to cover possible contingencies around police and fire contract negotiations, $250,000 for Cradle Cincinnati, which fights infant mortality, and funding other projects around the city totaling more than $13 million. Black suggested the rest be put into the city’s rainy day fund.
One item not on the agenda for the funds is the streetcar. Mayor John Cranley has signaled he adamantly opposes using extra funds for the transit project, which has a $4 million annual operating budget that still hasn’t been accounted for.
“We will absolutely not use general tax receipts to pay for the operation of the streetcar,” Cranley said last week.
Some on council may have other ideas, however. Vice Mayor David Mann has said he’s not against using money from the city to fund some of the streetcar’s operational costs, though he says that’s not the ideal solution. Other council members also seem willing to consider using city money for the project.