Support & Coordination
Coalitions and Working Groups
Many of the plans mentioned in this vision require the formation of working groups, networks, or coalitions around problem-solving an issue. From the passage of Preschool Promise to the success of our eviction prevention and food insecurity work, I have seen the effectiveness of this approach in many areas of my own professional life and am committed to the success of all working groups mentioned.
So much good work is happening in Cincinnati. The issue often lies in a lack of coordination. Many groups work independently, in silos, unaware or disconnected from similar work being done. By coalescing around connected issues of equity and prosperity, we learn from each other and move forward with strong goals.
Forge New Partnerships
My hope with this vision is that it ultimately acts as a starting point –– the start of a conversation around what a more equitable and growth-minded vision of Cincinnati could look like. And I hope these conversations bring people together.
I am sure that there is already progress being made regarding the issues in this document that I, and other elected officials and leaders, may not be aware of. A critical part of moving forward from here will be connecting with these networks, advocates, and groups so that issue-based advocacy can be more effectively leveraged to benefit all neighborhoods.
Utilize State and Federal Relief
As I've mentioned throughout the vision, there may be opportunities at the state and federal levels to apply for funding grants and programs to cover the costs of several plans mentioned in this document. If relevant grants and programs exist for a section, they should be pursued on behalf of the betterment of the constituents of Cincinnati, and I will do everything in my power to support the application and execution process.
Create Commission on New Revenue
In December of 1987, an independent commission headed by then Chief Executive of Procter and Gamble, John Smale, completed a study to assess the City’s infrastructure and make recommendations for upgrading the City’s physical assets.
The Smale Commission made more than 100 recommendations to improve the city’s infrastructure, and the City Council passed the Infrastructure Income Tax Ordinance (an earnings-tax increase endorsed by the group) as a result of the study. It was the last time the city administration received an independent review of its infrastructure needs, and frankly, it was the last time we generated a significant enough amount of new income to seriously execute necessary large-scale city projects.
The above fact, combined with our decades of steady population decline (and recent rapid growth), and decisions at the state level to drastically defund Ohio cities that cut tens of millions of dollars from our budget despite desperately needing it for services – not to mention the hit we just took from the COVID-19 pandemic – helps to explain why year after year, we struggle to keep the city afloat. We are at a breaking point in terms of our long-term financial sustainability.
Every year, city departments work diligently to shrink their resources to lessen the impact on our deficits and debts, despite the ever-rising cost of supplies (eg. The cost to repave one mile of a single lane of road has inflated more than 430% since 1987 - from $65,000 to $280,000 per lane-mile). Critical infrastructure projects in areas of pedestrian safety and environmental preparedness are forced to be cut. Staff reduction becomes a necessary evil as employees retire. Much-deserved raises for city employees are pushed to the next year. New issues emerge that require immediate funding, such as affordable housing, gun violence, child care, and environmental justice. All the while, some projects proposed in the original 1980s commission remain unfinished.
In 2018, as I settled into my work on Council and saw the sheer amount of money needed for the city to complete all necessary infrastructure projects, I publicly called for a "comprehensive performance and financial review" of the city's infrastructure maintenance and capital finances, noting, "The amount of work we're not capable of doing is staggering." Now, I recognize we need much more than just a review.
It is time we convene a new version of the 1987 Smale Commission. We need an independent group of experts to conduct a robust assessment of the collective needs of our city and find new funding strategies for generating new income. Only by doing something as drastic and meaningful as this can we hope to fully grasp the amount of generated income required to address emerging issues we face as a city.
This is a big task – it would take all of Cincinnati’s major community leaders, stakeholders, and partners coming together. But when this does happen, and when new income is on the horizon, I believe some of the longer-term issues I outlined in this vision should be priorities for where this new city revenue should go.