CHICAGO -- Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley presented his first budget, a 2015 spending plan that would cut spending by just under 6% with no layoffs.
The all-funds budget totals $1.3 billion, with a $1 billion operating budget and a $339 million capital budget. The general fund budget totals $358 million.
The budget cuts $13 million in 2015 pension payments. Cranley wants to transfer $100 million out of the city's retiree health care benefits fund into its unfunded pension plan. A group of retirees sued, and the plan is being litigated in U.S. District court.
Standard & Poor's hit Cincinnati with a two-notch downgrade to AA-minus in late March, citing concerns about its budget and high pension debt and other liabilities. The city's unfunded pension liability is estimated at $862 million, for a 61% funded status.
Moody's Investors Service last July downgraded the city to Aa2 from Aa1, also largely due to the pension debt.
The $100 million "infusion" into the pensions would boost the funded status to 68%, the mayor's office said.
"At long last, this budget puts our financial house in order," Cranley said in a May 14 presentation to the city council.
Cranley, a public finance attorney and former Cincinnati City Council member, took office in November. Since then he's halted a plan to lease the city's parking meters to the local port authority and scaled back a controversial bond-funded plan to build a new streetcar system.
It's Cincinnati's first structurally balanced budget since 2001, the mayor said. Spending on police and fire makes up the bulk of general fund spending.
The city council will now take up the spending plan. The city's 2015 fiscal year begins July 1.