Thursday, November 5, 2009

GE Makes Long-Term Commitment to Region

Today, I was thrilled to take part in an announcement with the Governor, GE executives, the new President of UC, and others, about a long-term partnership that will keep GE Aircraft in our region. This is huge news for our entire community.

Outside the announcement, two helicopters for which GE makes engines, the Blackhawk and the Apache, were on display as part of a service for veterans.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big Phone-a-Thon Tomorrow To Avert Foreclosures

Now this will be a big phone-a-thon!
The Homeowneship Center and WCET will launch a phone-a-thon tomorrow to assist homeowners worried about the possibility of a foreclosure.

Beginning tomorrow morning, call 1-877-7BUZZUS (1-877-728-9987) if you need help preventing a foreclosure.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rolling Up Our Sleeves: Productive Budget Work Sessions

A lot of attention was paid to the three budget work sessions we had over the last 10 days, particularly on some of the worst case scenarios outlined and a few dramatic moments where tempers flared.

The real story, though, was in how much progress was made. Official after official came forward, and for the most part either said they could live within the proposed numbers--or pinpointed precisely those areas where help is needed to avoid a particularly dire result. And our administration is now hard at work to deal with those particular areas.

For example, it's safe to say that no commissioner wants to see jailspace reduced by one more bed, courtroom prosecutors laid off, the crime lab closed, or the clerk of courts website shut down, and we will all work together to avoid those and other consequences.

Starting this process early, and conducting the work sessions through public meetings, has brought out the best in so many of our County leaders, and outlined a path to complete what may be the most difficult budget in decades.

And yes, it also allows Commissioners to ask the tough questions--which is part of our job of representing the taxpayers come budget time, even if those questions might ruffle a few feathers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Community Tour: Columbia Township

Last night, we had another one of our monthly meetings in the community--this one was in Columbia Township.

These have turned out to be an incredibly helpful way to keep up with the many great communities in Hamilton County. Next stop, Sycamore Township.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cycling Cincinnati -- Fountains of Youth

Had a great day Saturday cycling about 14 miles, visiting different fountains around Cincinnati. Thanks to all those who made it happen, and those who took part.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Budgeting 101 -- You Can't Spend What You Don't Have

It was an unfortunate week in Hamilton County. The courts are refusing to consider budget cuts for next year. And they and other departments continue to suggest the only thing we can do is raise the sales tax. There are two pretty straightforward responses:

Principle 1. The problem in our county, as it is across the country, is not that our tax rate is too low. It's that economy activity is severely depressed. A couple years ago, this county saw about $270M in revenues from our various revenue streams. With the same tax levels today, we're below $230M in revenues this year. Solving that problem means we need to do everything we can to spur economic growth, consumer confidence, job retention and creation, etc.--and we're doing everything in a tough environment to get that done. But especially at a time where we finally are seeing a potential break in the economy, raising the sales tax takes us in exactly the wrong direction.

Principle 2. We simply can't spend what we don't bring in. It's a concept every business and every family has to contend with every day--you can't spend money you're not bringing in. And it's a concept all levels of government, including this County and all of its departments, need to live within now more than ever. So if we're bringing in less, we have to spend less. No way around this simple concept.

You combine these two principles, and the path in front of us is pretty clear, if not easy. We have to do all we can to get our economy going again. And in the meantime, every part of this County has to get through this challenging time by living within our more narrow means--which means finding ways to do more with less, to be more frugal, to set and stick to priorities, to change bad habits, to eliminate waste, to cut back on anything but bare necessities, and even to make sacrifices we otherwise would not want to make if that's what gets our budget numbers in line.

All the press conferences, letters, and public statements in the world will not change this basic reality.

And look around--it's the same reality everyone else in this community is also grappling with, with far less fanfare and noise than government.
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