Hello Cincy! I heard it’s National Donut Day. If that’s your jam, you can get some free fried dough treats on Fountain Square around noon. A bunch of other spots around Greater Cincinnati are also offering up sweet pastries throughout the day as well. Anyway, here’s some news not really related to baked goods.
Cincinnati City Manager Patrick Duhaney yesterday unveiled his suggestions for the city’s $1 billion fiscal year 2019 budget. The spending plan must contend with a $32 million budget deficit due to less-than-projected tax receipts and state funding, something Duhaney suggests the city address with cuts to human services, economic development, neighborhood support and other city programs. Under Duhaney’s suggestions, there would be no closures of rec centers or pools, nor layoffs or furloughs for city employees — though hiring for open positions would freeze. You can read our full rundown of the proposed spending plan here.
• Cincinnati City Council yesterday passed a motion directing city administration to hire a director to oversee streetcar operations, among other organizational changes. Councilman Greg Landsman introduced the motion, which calls for a nonprofit organization made up of business and community leaders to administer streetcar operations, a bigger marketing budget to attract riders, a dedicated executive director to take responsibility for the transit project and better attention to details, including more performance and financial reviews and a plan to prevent blockages of the streetcar tracks by other vehicles. According to the motion, the plan would end confusion around the tangle of organizations — the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, the city, contracted management company Transdev and CAF, the streetcar manufacturer — who currently have some level of responsibility for the system. Landsman says the motion is budget-neutral.
• Also in council this week: Councilman David Mann announced a motion Wednesday asking city administration to apply for a federal grant to finish the Central Parkway bike lane. That lane, constructed in 2014, was part of a bike plan devised by city council prior to Mayor John Cranley’s election in 2013. Cranley has since shifted city emphasis to off-street bike paths like Wasson Way instead. The city applied for a federal Transportation Alternatives grant for the latter project. But it can apply for up to two of those grants, and Mann is asking administration to submit another for the bike lane. The grants could supply up to $750,000 to the projects. The city would need to provide roughly $150,000 in matching funds for the bike lane.
• A new ranking says Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park is the best park in Ohio. The draw, according to Money? The park’s central location and new amenities. You can read all the rankings and the report’s criteria for rating parks in every state here.
• Outgoing U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan was in Greater Cincinnati yesterday, where he appeared with U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot to speak to Kroger workers as the latter runs a tough reelection campaign. Ryan and Chabot discussed their appreciation for — and differences with — President Donald Trump at that event in Springdale, mostly highlighting how they diverge from the president on issues of trade. Trump has taken a highly protectionist tack, threatening tariffs and other measures against countries around the world. Those include several U.S. allies in Europe — an approach Ryan disagreed with. Chabot said Trump’s posturing on trade isn’t “particularly helpful,” but heaped praise on the president for a number of other positions on abortion, tax cuts and moves to repeal Obamacare. The visit from Ryan is something of a campaign favor to Chabot, who faces a challenge from Democrat Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval. Chabot’s district has been safely Republican since redistricting included staunchly GOP Warren County, but Hamilton County is trending ever bluer. Pureval has netted higher-than-expected campaign donations and could present a bigger threat to Chabot than expected.
• Speaking of U.S. House Speakers — former top GOP representative John Boehner slammed his party during remarks at a policy conference in Michigan yesterday. Boehner is still a little bit in disbelief about our current president, and isn't shy about saying it.
"There is no Republican Party," Boehner said. "There's a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere." Ouch. Sick burn, bro.
• The state of Ohio will announce which companies get highly coveted medicinal marijuana dispensary licenses Monday. The state’s Board of Pharmacy could name as many as 56 license recipients from the 376 license applications it received. The board was supposed to announce those licenses last month, but delayed its decision to gather more information. Hamilton County could get three of Southwest Ohio’s 15 dispensaries, according to state rules.