The Mayor's version of the 2020 budget, released yesterday, restores funding to Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, along with many poverty-reduction and economic development programs. It does not address funding for the Director of the Office of Environment and Sustainability or the Urban Agriculture Program.
The City of Cincinnati is in the process of developing its budget for 2020. The City Manager has released his version of the budget. It includes cuts to several programs that are an integral part of the Green Umbrella network.
It eliminates all funding for Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (representing 55% of its budget), which provides a wide range of education and services to the community to reduce waste and litter, prevent illegal dumping, clean up neighborhoods and stabilize vacant properties. These types of services are performed by city government in many other cities but have become part of the scope of this impactful non-profit over its decades of partnership with the City.
It eliminates the position of Director of the Office of Environment and Sustainability. Cincinnati has been a leader in the Midwest in driving progress towards carbon reductions, resiliency planning, urban agriculture and landfill diversion. The Green Cincinnati Plan and progress towards our carbon reduction goals is evidence of that. OES has brought in several national funding partners over the last few years which are increasing its capacity for impact without adding cost to the city budget. Without a Director, this department it will be less effective in implementing its programs, interacting with the rest of city government and attracting national and regional support for its innovative work.
It eliminates the Urban Agriculture grant program, which provides mini-grants to farmers and community gardeners for land acquisition and infrastructure. The city is very close to adopting revised zoning ordinances for urban agriculture, which will make it easier for gardeners to produce food and compost on their properties. Losing funding for grants to these individuals and communities will make it harder for them to get their efforts off the ground just as they are finally able to invest in infrastructure that has previously been restricted. The $21,890 in the budget for this program is a drop in the city budget but could be transformative for 5 or more entrepreneurs or community groups in 2020.
It eliminates funding for the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance’s work to increase renewable energy installations and increase energy efficiency in the built environment.
It eliminates all funding in 2020 for the Bicycle Transportation Program, which funds on-road bike lanes, bike parking facilities, signage and bike friendly storm drains. These funds are used by communities to enact their vision for an active transportation network that helps people get where they need to go without relying on a vehicle.
Green Umbrella would like to see the City’s budget reflect the strong commitment it has made to sustainability through the Green Cincinnati Plan. Let’s show our residents and businesses we are all-in on pursuing our shared sustainability goals.The full city budget proposal and details about the public input process is available on the City Manager’s website. The Mayor can make changes up until May 24. City Council will review and make adjustments with the deadline of final approval by June 30. There will be public hearings May 29, June 3 and June 4.