Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fire Department Money Burn

Budget hearings are coming up in September, and it's not going to be pretty. Cincinnati's budget deficit will be north of $65 million, and they will claim there's no choice but to layoff 110 police, 75 firefighters, and raise the earnings tax to 2.5%. To make sure that's the only choice, council and the mayor are burning up every dollar they can scrounge right now.

Fire department training personnel and arson investigators currently lease space at Longworth Hall for $15,000/month. Seven years ago the city spent big bucks to move them there. There's a vacancy in the city-owned II Centennial Building next to City Hall, so the city wants to move them again. The problem is it's going to cost upwards of $900,000 to make the move. Longworth Hall's landlord has already offered a $1000/month rent reduction if they stay.

Even if the city could save 100% of the rent cost, that's a 64 month payback ($900k/$14k) on the cost of the move. In short, we would actually lose money for the next five and a half years before generating any savings. Are they aware there's a recession? We don't have this money to burn.

Like most sensible people, Councilman Charlie Winburn finds this wasteful spending obscene, and has introduced a motion to stop it. His commonsense proposal is to simply lease the space at II Centennial to somebody else, and let the city collect $14,000/month in rent. There are plenty of hungry realtors who would love to have that listing. It avoids having to move fire staffers into a less suitable space. And best of all, it saves the city nearly a million bucks, which can avoid having to layoff 15 cops.

Call or email the other councilmembers today and tell them to stop burning through your money.
513-352-3604 Vice-Mayor Roxanne Qualls
513-352-3283 Councilmember Jeff Berding
513-352-3249 Councilmember Chris Bortz
513-352-3344 Councilmember Leslie Ghiz
513-352-3640 Councilmember Chris Monzel
513-352-5303 Councilmember Laure Quinlivan
513-352-3499 Councilmember Cecil Thomas
513-352-3466 Councilmember Wendell Young

1 comment:

  1. I actually really like this post. I think Charlie Winburn has the right idea on this matter. While I disagree with your stance regarding the streetcar, you have made an excellent point here and I will be contacting the other councilpersons regarding this matter.


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