Friday, August 9, 2013

$28M in parking money recommended for capital investment, not budget

Cincinnati's budget and finance directors are recommending that an additional $28 million of the estimated $92 million the City is expected to receive through the lease of its parking assets should go to capital investment projects and not to balancing the 2014 and 2015 budgets.

That proposal was outlined in an August 5 memo and comes less than a week after six City Council members announced plans to restore more than $3.8 million to the City budget due to higher than expected revenues in May and June.

The funds also could be used for upfront costs associated with implementing IT initiatives, fleet replacement initiatives, or service sharing proposals. The money should be held in reserve and not allocated until a cost-benefit analysis can be presented to City Council, the report said.

The remainder of the funding is recommended to be spent in much the same way as was outlined in February:

  • I-71/Martin Luther King Drive interchange: $20 million;
  • Fiscal Year 2015 Budget: $16.2 million, less than the original $20.9 million;
  • Economic Development Projects: $12 million, previously earmarked for the replacement of the Pogue's Garage with a 30-story apartment tower, for which other funding has been identified;
  • General Fund reserves: $8.8 million, more than the original $6.3 million;
  • Smale Riverfront Park: $4 million;
  • Wasson Way: $3 million;
The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority (Port), which would be the lessee, is in the middle of a 75-day vetting process of the lease agreement and is expected to decide on whether to proceed by September 4. City Council then would vote on how to spend the upfront payment.

The Port has requested at least one-third of the upfront payment for various economic development projects.

A group of citizens has filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court asking it to uphold a temporary restraining order issued by the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas that would have stopped the parking lease and allowed the issue to be subject to referendum on the November ballot. That decision was reversed by the First District Court of Appeals on June 12, and the Port signed the lease on June 21.

Previous reading on BC:
Port Authority signs parking lease; Terms to be defined within 75 days (6/26/13)
City sells Tower Place for $1; Parking and retail coming (5/21/13)
Dohoney: Parking Modernization Plan opens revenue stream, keeps City control (2/21/13)
City 'FAQs' address parking proposal misconceptions, concerns (12/21/12)
City plans offer for Tower Place in 9 days (11/20/12)