Cincinnati Faces Shutdown Over Budget Dispute

June 17, 2015

Since 2001, the capital funding of fleet has been eroding from about 70% of needs in 2001 to about 30% of needs today. Graph via City of Cincinnati.
Since 2001, the capital funding of fleet has been eroding from about 70% of needs in 2001 to about 30% of needs today. Graph via City of Cincinnati.

The City of Cincinnati is facing a shutdown because City Council members can’t come to an agreement about the city’s capital budget for fiscal-year 2016-17. The capital budget plan funds projects and purchases such as road paving and replacing fleet vehicles.

“Because some councilmembers were upset that their pet projects weren’t included, the city will not be able to repave our roads or replace our aging police cruisers, fire trucks and ambulances,” Mayor Cranley said in a statement. Cranley is pushing council members to approve the budget.

Capital funding for vehicle replacements have been eroding since 2001; because of this, 60% of vehicles supported by the General Fund are past their life cycles, including police, fire, public services, and parks and recreation vehicles. The city estimates it will need $12.3 million annually to replace vehicles in their correct lifecycles and an additional $6.3 million annually for “catch-up funding.”

For fiscal-year 2016, the proposed budget would provide $4.9 million for fleet replacements and $6.5 million for a Fleet Lease Purchase Acceleration project. The lease purchase project would allow the city to replace fleet assets at its appropriate lifecycles.

As part of the six-year plan, fleet would get a total of $35.4 million for fleet replacement funding and $45.4 million for the lease purchase project.  

Modernizing the fleet could save the city $2-3 million per year in reduced maintenance and fuel costs, according to budget documents.

The City Council vote was a 4-4 tie, and the council must pass a budget by July 1 or shut down all essential services, reported.

Update 6/19/15: The City Council passed the budget with some compromises on Wednesday, avoiding a city shutdown, according to

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