City Council passes spending plan; Cranley calls it 'crazy,' plans to veto

CINCINNATI -- Controversy is brewing at City Hall over how to fund a new class of police recruits in January.

Some officials want to cut spending, while others prefer putting less money into the city's reserves. The City Council voted Wednesday in favor of putting less money into the city's rainy day fund in order to pay for more services, but Mayor John Cranley said he'll veto the ordinance. 

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said his plan is to get the best of both worlds. By saving money at a slower rate, the city can afford services while still moving its savings account in the right direction, he said.

"I created one budget that raises our reserves by nearly $2 million," Sittenfeld said. "There's no other way to carve that than by saying that's a responsible -- fiscally responsible -- thing to do."

There was unanimous support for funding items like new police officers and expanding the ShotSpotter system, but officials couldn't agree on other spending, such as giving $550,000 to Center for Closing the Health Gap, a city-funded nonprofit aimed at improving minorities' health in Cincinnati. 

Health Gap had to pay back more than $40,000 to the city last year after it was the focus of a 9 On Your Side I-Team report last year that uncovered improper spending. 

"All the human service agencies who get money from the city have to compete on the same basis," Cranley said. "They shouldn't get a special line item and special treatment, they should be treated the same as every other group."

Cranley called the ordinance a "crazy spending bill" and said he would veto it. It wasn't immediately clear whether the council would have the six-member majority needed to override the veto next week.

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