File photo of City Council Member Chris Seelbach.
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Seelbach proposes alternative to city's parking lease deal

Councilman: Make $5M in cuts, redirect casino tax

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CINCINNATI - With Cincinnati facing a $25 million deficit and many residents opposed to a plan to lease the city's parking meters and garages to generate some cash, City Councilman Chris Seelbach proposed an alternate plan Friday afternoon.

Under Seelbach's proposal, which he has dubbed "Plan S," the city would make $5 million in cuts and reallocate some casino tax revenues.

Also, Seelbach proposes two charter amendments to be decided by voters at the polls: One would implement a $10 monthly trash fee, while the other would increase the city's admissions tax by two percent.

Earlier this month, City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. proposed leasing the city's parking system to the Port Authority for at least 30 years. The Port would have two private companies operate the assets under its oversight. In return, the city would receive a $92 million upfront payment, along with annual payments that begin at $3 million.

In return, the city would receive an upfront payment of $92 million from the Port Authority. Also, it would get annual payments that would begin at $3 million and gradually increase over time. - See more at: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/Cincinnatis-parking-lease-on-fast-track-for-vote#sthash.9h8Eg2M7.dpuf
to lease its parking system to the Port Authority j - See more at: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/Cincinnatis-parking-lease-on-fast-track-for-vote#sthash.9h8Eg2M7.dpuf
to lease its parking system to the Port Authority j - See more at: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/Cincinnatis-parking-lease-on-fast-track-for-vote#sthash.9h8Eg2M7.dpuf

Many residents and small businesses have spoken out against the parking proposal, saying it's a bad deal that the city would regret later.

In his proposal, Seelbach -- a Democrat -- makes cuts to administrative services at City Hall, including in the budgets for City Council and the city manager. Additionally, it consolidates some police and fire services, puts a freeze on 20 vacant positions and eliminates car allowances for some employees.

But Seelbach's proposal doesn't call for any police and fire layoffs, unlike a so-called "Plan B" announced by Dohoney this week.

Further, no swimming pools are closed and no recreation programs are ended, as proposed in Dohoney's Plan B.

"Cincinnatians are both opposed to the parking deal and are opposed to dramatic cuts to public safety," Seelbach said. "Allowing voters to decide for themselves instead of pushing through an unpopular parking deal is the more responsible option."

Council's Finance Committee will discuss the parking deal Monday, and the full City Council could make a final decision Wednesday. If it does, the decision would occur just 15 days after the parking plan was introduced.

Councilman Charlie Winburn, a Republican, is expected to unveil his own deficit reduction plan Monday. It reportedly involves asking city employees to take a pay cut.

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