Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions here.
CINCINNATI - The city will announce layoffs and budget cuts Monday made necessary by the COVID-19 crisis, Mayor John Cranley said Friday.
“We will get through this, Cincinnati, together,” Cranley said.
Cranley did not speak to how many or how much after City Councilmember Chris Seelbach tweeted that the city administration is projecting a $60 million to $80 million deficit in the general fund. Seelbach said the deficit would require "cutting important jobs and services by June 30."
“Those sacrifices are likely to get worse before they get better,” Cranley said.
WATCH Cranley's briefing.
In his Friday briefing, Cranley promised that the city would maintain essential services - namely police, fire, public health, sanitation and water and sewer. He said the city's intention is to bring back laid-off workers when the crisis winds down.
“Whatever cuts and layoffs that we have to announce on Monday, we intend for those to be temporary and if you look at what Dayton and Akron have done over the last week, it is similar in that they have asked people to do a temporary leave with the intention of bringing them back when the crisis is nearing its end,” Cranley said.
Cranley said the city would spend not any of the $150 million from bonds approved by City Council last week. Cranley announced last week that the city had a $45 million surplus and could use that for this unprecedented health emergency.
“Our goal is not to have to use any of that money because it’s borrowing against the future and has to be paid back,” Cranley said. “We wanted to keep that option open in order to keep all options on the table depending on how bad the crisis gets.”
In other developments:
-City has tested 36 individuals
-positive results on two 31 yo male, 52 yo female
-3 individuals who have tested positive TODAY
-1 test still being investigated
— Tanya O'Rourke (@TanyaORourke) March 27, 2020
- Health Commissioner Melba Moore reported three more confirmed COVID-19 cases, raising the city total to 28. She said the new patients - all men - are 60, 47 and 30 years old.
- Cranley said the city is "aggressively moving forward" to create hospital space in the Duke Energy Convention Center to meet the region's demands - "not for COVID-19 positives but for people with other issues." Under the plan, COVID-19 patients would continue to be treated at local hospitals.
- The city is not ready to close the parks despite people overcrowding the Eden Park Overlook and not practicing social distancing at Ault Park, but that could change, Cranley said. He said there would be an announcement Monday. Cranley said hikes and walks are allowed but sports and other activities may be restricted.
- The city and Strategies To End Homelessness are offering rental subsidies to landlords who provide housing for people experiencing homelessness. Renters would get "care and guidance of a house manager," Cranley said. Learn more about the program here. The mayor added that the city has already located additional space at shelters and hotels and transformed the Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center to house people with COVID-19 symptoms.
- City Manager Patrick Duhaney said the 911 call center is being enhanced but the current layout allows for social distancing. He said the backup facility at Spinney Field will be utilized next week.
- The COVID-19 Response fund has raised $4.1 million and distributed $1 million to organizations. The fund is administered by the United Way and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. You can donate at gcfdn.org/COVID or text RAPID to 91999.
- The city extended the date to file annual net profit tax returns but did not extend the deadline for businesses to file employee withholding taxes. Get more information about city taxes here.
Cranley: "All of this is sad and tragic, and we are moving quickly to ensure that we will be able throughout this crisis to provide police, fire, sanitation, public health in addition to clean water and sewer services. Essentials that our entire society depends upon." https://t.co/Mba8lVR0Uj
— Pat LaFleur (@pat_laFleur) March 27, 2020
Cranley said his next briefing will be Monday unless he has something significant to report over the weekend.