Synchronize your watches, Cincinnati: It’s Emergency Ordinance time.

By the time you read this, I will be in Italy.  But I don’t need to be stateside to know what’s going on in Cincinnati.  And I don’t own a crystal ball. The same thing happens on the final Friday before City Council recesses for the summer every year.  Year after year after year.

Sometime late this afternoon, the city manager will add a long list of Emergency Ordinances to the agenda for Monday morning’s last Budget & Finance Committee meeting at 1 pm.  These emergency ordinances will involve hundreds of pages of supporting documentation related to the biggest real estate deals in the city’s development pipeline.  Most of them will be CRA (Community Reinvestment Area) property tax abatement of 7-15 years.  But there will almost certainly be at least a couple of Tax Increment Financing projects thrown into the mix as well, extremely complicated deals that give away the store for over thirty years and often include air rights and transfer of valuable city-owned land to the developer for $1.  We call these deals public-private partnerships, but that’s a misnomer as the public-part of the equation is completely and intentionally excluded from the decision-making process.

Over the last year, I’ve made some friends in the City’s economic development department.  One of them explained to me that there is nothing sinister about the last-minute packing of the agenda.  “You know how people are,” he said.  “They wait until right before the deadline to get things done.”  I trust this guy.  He’s a hard-worker and honest.  Smart. But even if he’s right, this is not an unsolvable problem.  All we need to do is discontinue the use of Emergency Ordinances on the bigger Tax Increment Financing projects, force these decisions through the normal process.

deputizeFor those of you who accepted deputy badges at the Cincyopolis celebration earlier this month, here’s a link to the Budget & Finance agenda.  Check it around 4 pm. If these Emergency Ordinances pass without changes, they will go before Council for final vote on Wednesday and become law.

Synchronize your watches, Citizens.  Let’s try to make a little noise.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Synchronize your watches, Cincinnati: It’s Emergency Ordinance time.

  1. Brian Korte

    It must be worse than we thought it was. Still no Budget and Finance committee agenda posted for Monday’s meeting.

    Reply
  2. Brian Korte

    There are 5 ordinances posted to Council online that I would think are headed to Budget and Finance. Of course, there are no documents available for any of theses ordinances (like actual descriptions of the projects) so these are just general descriptions of the ordinances.

    1) ORDINANCE (EMERGENCY) submitted by Harry Black, City Manager, on 6/22/2015, the salary range schedules for the classifications of Water Works Director and Buildings and Inspections Director by amending existing sections of Division 5, Chapter 307 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code, in order to enhance marketability and competitiveness in the job market.

    2) ORDINANCE (EMERGENCY) submitted by Harry Black, City Manager, on 6/22/2015, providing for the issuance of bonds or notes in anticipation of such bonds, by the City of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the principal amount of $23,850,000 for the purpose of Street Improvements.

    3) ORDINANCE (EMERGENCY) submitted by Harry Black, City Manager, on 6/22/2015, providing for the issuance of bonds or notes in anticipation of such bonds, by the City of Cincinnati, Ohio in the principal amount of $2,165,000 for the purpose of making Parking Facility Improvements.

    4) ORDINANCE (EMERGENCY) submitted by Harry Black, City Manager, on 6/22/2015, providing for the issuance, sale and delivery of (I) not to exceed $55,000,000 of Water System Revenue Bonds, Series 2015A, of the City of Cincinnati, County of Hamilton, State of Ohio, for the purpose of financing certain improvements, (II) not to exceed $190,000,000 of Water System Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2015B of the City of Cincinnati, County of Hamilton, State of Ohio, for the purpose of refunding outstanding bonds and any subordinated bonds, and (III) not to exceed $100,000,000 of Water System Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2015C (Taxable) of the City of Cincinnati, County of Hamilton, State of Ohio, for the purpose of refunding outstanding bonds; authorizing a pledge of and lien on Water System Revenues to secure such bonds and obligations; authorizing an eleventh supplemental trust agreement; and authorizing necessary documents to secure such bonds.

    5) ORDINANCE (EMERGENCY) submitted by Harry Black, City Manager, on 6/22/2015, establishing a new capital improvement program project account no. 980x164x151685, “8th and Sycamore Redevelopment”; and further AUTHORIZING the City Manager to transfer $34,000 from existing capital improvement program project account no. 980x248x10914, “Seventh Street Garage Replacement”, to Parking Facilities Fund 102; and further AUTHORIZING the City Manager to transfer and appropriate $3,500,000 from the unappropriated surplus of Urban Renewal Tax Increment Fund 852 to the newly-established capital improvement program project account no. 980x164x151685, “8th and Sycamore Redevelopment”; and further AUTHORIZING the City Manager to transfer and appropriate $2,034,000 from the unappropriated surplus of Parking Facilities Fund 102 to the newly- established capital improvement program project account no. 980x164x151685, “8th and Sycamore Redevelopment”; all for the purpose of receiving and distributing funds for the redevelopment of real property, currently owned by the City, located at the northeast corner of Eighth Street and Sycamore Street in downtown Cincinnati.

    Reply
  3. executivedreamer Post author

    Nope, none of these are mega-project Tax Increment Financing surprises – and I’m pretty sure there will be some as one of my friends inside Economic Development told me the guys in charge of downtown were madly dashing around to get everything done by deadline. But wouldn’t it be nice if I were wrong? I would gladly eat my hat, crow or a big ol’ plate of humble pie.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s