Good morning Cincy! Let’s get straight to the news.
As expected, both Cincinnati City Council and Hamilton County Commissioners yesterday gave final approval for a raft of spending for infrastructure around a potential FC Cincinnati stadium. The $37 million deal city council approved at its meeting yesterday includes almost $10 million from two TIF districts in Oakley, $7.3 million the city currently has in reserves from the sale of the Blue Ash airport and up to $45 million in debt with payments made from the city’s portion of the Hamilton County hotel tax. In addition to those benefits, FC Cincinnati will also get half of the city earnings taxes paid by its employees. That still leaves more than $20 million unaccounted for in building the estimated $75 million in new roads, electrical and gas infrastructure needed for the stadium.
Council members Kevin Flynn, David Mann, Amy Murray, Christopher Smitherman and Charlie Winburn voted for the deal proposed by Mayor John Cranley. Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson and P.G. Sittenfeld voted against it. Councilman Wendell Young has been absent from council recovering from from heart surgery.
Meanwhile, the county commissioners at their weekly meeting gave their approval to a 1,000-space parking garage paid for by revenues from other county garages. Commissioners attached conditions to that funding, saying the team must hold public meetings about the stadium and that the county won’t pay for maintenance overruns. They have also said that’s the county’s final offer and do not seem amenable to a plan put forward by Cranley and FCC General Manager Jeff Berding that would have the stadium owned by the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority. That would keep the team from paying property taxes and sales tax on construction material.
The deal isn’t said and done — city council will still have to approve zoning for the stadium and any changes that may happen. Changes could still occur, especially since the stadium’s Oakley site isn’t nailed down and the team could switch its focus to sites in the West End. The stadium deal could see a less-friendly atmosphere as three new council members — Tamaya Dennard, Greg Landsman and Jeff Pastor — replace Charlie Winburn, Kevin Flynn and Yvette Simpson on council.
• Are you reading this on your phone right now at a bus stop? If so, click on over to our news feature this week to find out why you have a one in eight (or, depending on your route, an even greater) chance that your bus will be more than five minutes late. Hint: It involves Metro's threadbare funding.
• Developers have turned their eyes toward a once-neglected Cincinnati neighborhood, and now the housing market there is heating up, WCPO reports. That’s led some in Evanston to worry that the neighborhood is changing too fast. Residents report multiple offers from realtors offering to buy their homes, and a handful of new houses are set to be completed in the coming month. Community Council President Anzora Adkins says the community is working to make sure the neighborhood stays affordable and inclusive, but needs help from the city to make sure that increased property taxes don’t affect longtime, low- and moderate-income homeowners there.
• Earlier this week we told you about industry predictions that Kroger’s third-quarter results, announced yesterday, would show lower profits than last year as the local grocery giant battles with Amazon and big box stores. Turns out, those analysts were wrong. Kroger reported $397 million in profits, torching the $360 million predicted by experts and the $391 million the company made last year. Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen credited efforts to lower prices and inroads into e-commerce as among the reasons for the profit spike.
• In the fallout of sexual harassment allegations against high-profile entertainment and other industry bigwigs, Cincinnati lawyers are also seeing a spike in local sexual harassment claims. Attorneys interviewed for this Cincinnati Business Courier article say they think people feel more empowered to report these claims after high-profile cases involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, NBC anchor Matt Lauer and others.
• Former Cincinnati mayor and talk show host Jerry Springer won’t run for governor of Ohio, he announced yesterday. Springer’s name was bandied about as a possible contender in an already-crowded five-way Democratic primary race, and he did little to discourage the talk until now. But on his Jerry Springer podcast (a truly 21st century phrase if ever there was one), Springer said that commitments to his family and his age — he’s73 — make him hesitant to spend a year under a hot, burning microscope and a potential four years afterward running an increasingly politically contentious state. Huh. Can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want to do that. Have no fear, though. Former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Rich Corday is expected to jump into the race next month, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former State Rep. Connie Pillich, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni are all running vigorous campaigns. And oh yeah, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill is also running, though his campaign has been deeply wounded by a Facebook post O’Neill made during which he defended Sen. Al Franken against sexual harassment claims by bragging about sleeping with 50 attractive women. Weird.
• On the Republican side of the gubernatorial slog, the field is about to get a little narrower. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is expected to announce today that his primary challenger Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted will join his ticket as his choice for Lt. Governor. That solidifies something of an establishment ticket — both DeWine and Husted are well-known in the Ohio GOP and have served as politicians for years .The contentious race is likely to get even more so as U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci continues a Trump-like campaign. He has already blasted Husted for his ties to Ohio’s GOP establishment. Expect him to ramp up those talking points in coming months. And there’s another high-power player in the race: current Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. Don’t count her out just yet, either.