CINCINNATI -- City officials are facing a projected $23.4 million budget gap this year, and they're looking for ways to plug that hole.
In a 30-page memo Friday, City Manager Harry Black outlined preliminary contingency plans from different departments that officials could use to reduce their spending.
One of the ways, which Black emphasized should not be considered as proposed or recommended by the city administration, would be to close several community centers. The memo came the day after the 9 On Your Side I-Team reported on how the city has delayed repairs to several community centers.
The shortfall could also be felt by the police department, by moving the police recruit class from July to November and reducing the number of police recruits by a third, according to the preliminary document. The fire department could also be effected by taking two medic units out of service.
Although each contingency plan is merely a possibility rather than a probability, local Fraternal Order of Police president Sgt. Dan Hils said he felt compelled to voice his opposition to any police cuts.
"I understand budgets, but I also understand that public safety has to come first," he said Friday night. "It should always come first. If you want to keep the city streets safe, you’re going to have to hire and train enough police officers in time to replace the ones retiring."
Maintaining a one-for-one replacement rate is already a challenge for the Cincinnati Police Department, Hils said, as greater numbers of officers are projected to retire within the next several years.
Click here to read the memo.