Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Countdown to insolvency

Cincinnati is down to one week (maybe two) to make the decisions that will determine its fiscal future.

By next Wednesday's City Council meeting, the Council will vote -- finally -- on two important issues.  First, they must decide on their spending priorities.  How many layoffs?  Will Cincinnati improve and modernize, or will it remain the unproductive leviathan it has become?  Today, key business leaders asked the City finally to address its fundamental inefficiencies.  We will soon find out.

Associated with the City's budgetary problems are the devastating Parking Plot that is the subject of a brilliant permanent restraining order from Judge Robert Winkler, and a Shock and Awe petition drive by 19,803 citizens who demand a vote on the issue.  The Court of Appeals should decide in the coming week or so whether that referendum will proceed to the ballot.

Finance Committee Chairman Roxanne Qualls says that next week she will have Council vote on filling the $17.4 million gap due to cost overruns in the Streetcar program.

Finally, these decisions all tie in to the City's continuing to ignore the $750 million hole in the City;s pension plan, the key issue that is lowering the City's bond rating, and virtually guaranteed to bankrupt the CIty.

And while Cincinnati burns, Qualls and Mallory fiddle.

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