Court of Appeals to hear parking plan arguments Monday

CINCINNATI - The fight over Cincinnati's controversial parking plan is heading to a courtroom Monday.

The First District Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments about the parking plan, which determines who will pay for the city's parking meters, lots and garages.

The debate is going to court after concerned citizens won a temporary restraining order that blocked the agreement with the port authority that would give the city $92 million upfront and $3 million a year after that. Opponents gathered signatures on a petition that aimed to block the city's plan to lease its parking system. Opponents of the plan gathered more than 19,800 signatures — more than twice the amount of signatures required.

Cincinnati's City Council had planned to use part of a $92 million upfront payment from the parking lease to cover shortfalls in the 2014 and 2015 municipal budgets. Council must approve a balanced budget by July 1.

Without the lease, Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney proposed a "Plan B" that includes 344 layoffs along with closing three community centers and six swimming pools, among other cuts.

The city's budget crisis is because council has been unwilling to make difficult choices in making cuts every year, said Mayor Mark Mallory.

The lease of the city's parking meters, lots and garages was approved March 6 in a 5-4 vote.

Small businesses were worried rate increases and aggressive enforcement might drive away customers, while some residents said the city was undervaluing a prime city asset.

The arguments are set to being at 9:30 a.m.

Stay with 9 On Your Side and WCPO.com for updates as they become available.

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