Friday, June 14, 2013

Cincinnati parking meter outsourcing case update

The Ohio First District Court of Appeals handed down a ruling last Wednesday, June 12th., allowing the City of Cincinnati to move forward with leasing its parking system to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, reported the other morning, having the potential to end the city’s 3-some-odd-month taxpayer legal battle over parking meters & tickets. ( McQueen v. Dohoney, 2013-Ohio-2424 )

The decision revived the City’s hopes for a $92 million windfall that could “spark more Downtown development, create thousands of new jobs in Uptown and help balance the city’s budget in the coming years, but also could have the potential of hurting neighborhood and downtown businesses and entertainment venues for the next three decades because meter fees and tickets will increase,” according to the article.

Opponents of a Cincinnati ordinance passed back in March which related to and authorized the city manager to execute an agreement for the long-term leasing of the city’s parking system, sought an ex parte temporary order enjoining the city & city manager from taking any action in furtherance of the ordinance., declaratory & injunctive relief, and attorney fees, claiming to have a legal right to referendum on the issue that would be lost if the city were permitted to act upon the newly enacted ordinance.

“Ultimately, the common pleas court declared that Ordinance No. 56-2013 was subject to referendum, and granted injunctive relief prohibiting the city from taking any action to implement the ordinance pending the outcome of any referendum,” the Court here recounted, (although) it did not address “other plaintiffs-relators’ arguments in support of referendum because it found the issue that it had determined to be dispositive.” That is what was appealed.

Grossly oversimplified, the 1st. District’s complex, 38-page, says that “For almost 90 years, Hamilton County courts ruling on issues related to Article II, Section 3 of the Charter have interpreted that provision consistent with the city’s position that the citizens of Cincinnati did not reserve the power to approve or reject emergency municipal legislation by popular vote…. in .Schultz v. Cincinnati, 13 Ohio Op. 186, 28 Ohio Law Abs. 29, 1938 Ohio Misc. LEXIS 906, *7(C.P.1938) (“By the adoption of [section] 2 of the ordinance [, which contains an emergency clause,] the people of the City of Cincinnati are denied the right to express their views concerning this ordinance by the referendum, for by operation of [section] 2 of the ordinance[,] it becomes immediately effective.”)…”

Opponents plan to appeal.

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