Judge's parking ruling could mean police, fire layoffs - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Judge's parking ruling could mean police, fire layoffs

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

A Hamilton County Judge issued a permanent injunction on the City of Cincinnati's plan to privatize parking on Thursday. In response, a frustrated mayor reacted to the ruling.

"We don't have any alternatives. There's no group we can turn to that can give us enough money to fill a budget hole so that we don't have to lay off police officers and firefighters," said Mayor Mark Mallory of the ruling on the city's parking plan.

With that ruling, the process of laying off workers, including police and firefighters, could soon be underway. On the heels of the new, the city's firefighter union leader says they've been notified about the potential plans, and it's simply not fair.

"The public has a right to know that when they go to sleep at night, or when they're carrying out their business throughout the day, that they're being protected both with fire, medical and police services. To say that we're going to cut these services because of budget constraints or issues or something like that, I think is completely unfair to the public," said Matt Alter, president of Local 48.

City officials say they've tried everything to avoid this, and they're still working to find a way around all of it, but it's likely that "Plan B" and layoffs could be the only option.

"Make no mistake, we are going to exercise all of our options, but as of today, we begin with Plan B," said City Manager, Milton Dohoney.

A former city council member is also speaking out. He says these budget shortfalls are not a new thing, at least to him.

"I've been saying for years that we have to cut spending in order to balance the budget, just like households. You can't spend more than you take in, and the city's been doing that for years. You can't sell assets like your parking system to fill short term holes in your budget," said Jeff Berding, a former council member.

For city fire leaders, it's a waiting game right now. They're already down around 100 firefighters and at five brown-outs a day. If the numbers hold true, they could lose 120 more firefighters, including a class of 40 set to graduate Friday.

"120 firefighters represents 10 fire companies. That's 1/4 of the fire department. That's on top of brownouts that we do everyday, and that doesn't include that overtime that would probably be cut, which is an additional 5 companies. We're talking 20 fire companies closed everyday. 50% of the Cincinnati Fire Department, closed," added Alter.

We reached out to the Cincinnati Police Department, and a spokesperson told us it's too early to talk about the layoff situation.

But, the state's democratic party says it's all Governor Kasich's fault.

FOX19 reached out to the governor's office for a response.

Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Gov. Kasich, told us, "Mayor Mallory has consistently rejected proven strategies to control costs through sharing services, and then when the chickens come home to roost, he tries to dodge responsibility and blame others. While the state of Ohio's credit outlook has been upgraded, under Mayor Mallory's watch, the city's credit outlook has been downgraded because the Mayor continues to kick the can down the road."

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