June 26, 2014
Mayor Cranley reviews his first seven months in office
Major goals accomplished before City Council’s summer break
Nearing the end of his seventh month in office, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has accomplished several major goals he set while campaigning including job creation, increasing public safety and improving the city’s fiscal health.
Some of the highlights include:
- Attracting GE to relocate to The Banks;
- Getting Catholic Health Partners build a new HQ in Bond Hill;
- Persuading Cincinnati Bell to consolidate area operations in downtown;
- Approving a structurally balanced municipal budget;
- Taking actions to stabilize the City’s bond rating;
- Creating a binding framework to deal with the pension system;
- Hiring more police officers;
- Hiring more firefighters;
- Winning a joint manufacturing designation with the City of Dayton;
- Canceling the parking deal with the Port Authority; and
- Making numerous neighborhood investments in Bond Hill, Lower Price Hill, Over-the-Rhine and elsewhere.
Since beginning his term Dec. 1, Mayor Cranley has overseen several economic development deals that will bring or keep a total of 4,952 jobs in the City of Cincinnati during the next few years.
"I promised during my campaign that I would bring more jobs to Cincinnati and I have made that a priority since Day One," Mayor Cranley said. "We’ve successfully completed deals to bring nearly 5,000 jobs to the city, and we’re working on more deals for the next few months."
The completed deals include bringing GE’s Global Operations Center to The Banks riverfront district (1,800 direct jobs, and another 1,910 spinoff jobs created by GE’s presence); having Catholic Health Partners build a new headquarters in Bond Hill (650 new jobs, 400 jobs retained); and consolidating Cincinnati Bell’s offices in downtown (600 new jobs, 652 jobs retained).
Also, the Mayor has worked to improve public safety by increasing police overtime in 23 crime hotspots; starting a lateral recruit class of 20 police officers; planning a new recruit class of 60 police officers; and adding more resources to the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), which targets the most active and violent criminals in the city.
The results have paid off: Recent police statistics show the overtime resulted in more than 500 additional criminal arrests (felony & misdemeanor) and included the seizure of eight guns during the first 60 days of usage.
So far, violent crimes have decreased citywide by 19 percent, compared to the same period last year. That includes a 22 percent reduction in aggravated assaults, a 20 percent reduction in robberies and a 6 percent reduction in rapes.
Property crimes have decreased citywide by 4 percent, compared to the same period in 2013. That includes a 10 percent reduction in thefts from automobiles and a 7 percent reduction in burglaries.
"Reducing crime and making sure citizens are safe is the basic duty of government, from which everything else follows," Mayor Cranley said.
"In every part of the city, people told me more needed to be done about crime and I listened," the Mayor said. "Crime is still too high, but when our new recruits hit the streets later this year I expect even more improvement."
Moreover, the Mayor has essentially ended the use of brownouts in the Fire Department. A brownout occurs when a fire company reduces the overall staffing below recommended minimum requirements.
A total of 41 new recruits were added to the Fire Department, as well as allocating $2.5 million in overtime. Later this year, the City will receive federal SAFER grants that will allow the addition of more firefighters.
Additionally, Mayor Cranley presented City Council with a proposal for the first structurally balanced municipal budget in years. The budget was approved by council with relatively few changes and had no layoffs.
The Mayor also consulted with bond rating agencies while drafting the budget, following a downgrade in Cincinnati’s bond rating last summer by Moody’s.
A primary reason for the downgrade is due to the City’s $862 million unfunded liability in the Cincinnati Retirement System. Most of the unfunded liability is due to the recession in 2008 and losses the City incurred for its pension investments.
In April, Cincinnati City Council unanimously approved Mayor Cranley’s proposal to stabilize the pension system. Under the plan, the city manager can negotiate concessions with representatives of employees and retirees, under the oversight of a federal judge. The outcome will be legally binding on all parties.
Also, the mayor proposes taking $100 million from the Health Trust Fund, which is over-funded, to shore up the pension system.
Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s responded favorably to the actions, and said a higher bond rating is likely in the future.
Other major accomplishments so far include ending a long-term lease of the City’s parking meters and garages to the Port Authority that was pushed by a previous Mayor and City Council.
During Mayor Cranley’s tenure, funding has been approved for numerous neighborhood projects.
The projects include $2.7 million to help 3CDC develop Mercer Commons and other projects in Over-the-Rhine; $2.5 million to improve the business district in College Hill; $900,000 for street improvements on Reading Road; $350,000 of blight removal money for Bond Hill; and a $2 million grant and $4.2 million loan to build a theater and parking garage in East Price Hill's Incline District.
"While not every project we would’ve liked to fund made the cut this year, I am proud we were able to still make a sizeable investment in our great neighborhoods."
For more information, contact Kevin Osborne, Director of Communications, at email@example.com or at 513-516-1966.