Once again preventing park cuts and saving public safety jobs were the focus of many speakers during a Cincinnati Council hearing Monday night on the city’s budget.
There was a smaller crowd for the session at the College Hill Recreation Center, and about 30 speakers offered testimony.
About half of them are asking Council not to reduce funding for the parks department. The board that runs those facilities has threatened closures and reduced maintenance if the city manager’s budget is adopted.
Two Cincinnati Council Members are supporting a plan to eliminate all the proposed firefighter layoffs while reducing police officer layoffs to 25.
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and Council Member Chris Seelbach announced the proposal Thursday.
“We will continue to look for additional savings that could reduce layoffs even further,” Qualls said in a press release. “We must preserve essential services that keep all of our neighborhoods safe and clean.”
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory's budget plan released Wednesday reduces the number of police and fire department layoffs. But 53 firefighters and 49 police officers would still be out of work in early June.
Mallory said he believes the public safety layoffs are unavoidable.
Cincinnati park officials are laying out some drastic changes you could expect this summer if proposed budget cuts are approved by City Council. Fountains could be turned off, lakes could be drained and flower beds could go unplanted.
Ault Park's Facebook page lists more closings that could be considered including the Mt. Airy Dog Park and Disc Golf course, a handful of entire parks, and all park restrooms.