By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MADISONVILLE - Activists, environmentalists and neighborhood leaders urged Cincinnati City Council to keep the 13-year-old curbside recycling program in a tight 2004 budget Monday night.
But it was the last speaker - 11-year-old Hannah Christmann, a student at Guardian Angels Elementary School in Mount Washington - who got council's attention.
"I have been taught my whole life that recycling is the right thing to do. I recycle at home because it just doesn't make sense to throw away materials that can be made into new products," she said. "Without it, we are wasting resources and energy. People always say that if we don't recycle now, someone is going to pay for it down the road. Take a good look, because that someone is going to be me."
City Manager Valerie Lemmie has proposed suspending the $2.1 million recycling program because of budget shortfalls.
But Finance Committee Chairman John Cranley told residents that City Council was listening, and that a consensus was emerging to save the program. Canceling it would save only $1.2 million because of lost grant funding and an increase in landfill fees for formerly recycled garbage.
Also at the committee's first public hearing on the 2004 budget Monday, Madisonville residents pushed for a $2.8 million redevelopment of Madison Road and Whetsel Avenue, already included in the city manager's proposal. Others gave pitches for arts programs and nonprofit groups.
In an afternoon session Monday, council members floated proposals to increase spending on neighborhood business districts ($2 million), stun guns for police ($1 million), an Interstate 71 interchange at Martin Luther King Drive ($750,000), community council subsidies ($260,000), a fire department training center ($250,000), environmental regulation ($100,000) and arts programs ($50,000).
Most of these increases would rely on the same source of money - the elimination of 34 middle-management positions, saving about $1 million. Other proposals: a pay freeze for nonunionized city employees and the sale of surplus property.
The final public hearing will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the McKie Community Center, 1655 Chase Ave., Northside. City Council is expected to pass the plan next week.
Bronson: Ashcroft has to protect us from smut
Hunt-Jasper: Inside Ohio's capital
Howard: Good things happening
Tasers could arrive next week
Arrest video spurs policy squabble
Challenges abound for GOP's Fletcher
Congress approves first national anti-spam legislation
Adjuncts from UC to rally
Newport: Aquarium project moves along swimmingly
Florence in pursuit of assets remaining after Epling's death
Convicted priest seeks early out from prison
11-year-old sways council on recycling
Man killed in one-vehicle crash near West Union
Around the Tristate
Public safety notebook
From the state capitals
Vaccine runs short as flu season begins
Flu complications surprise doctors
Some questions and answers about flu
'Savings accounts' could soon affect local health care
Grants awarded for cleanup
Hamilton puts levy on ballot
Miami U. ash tree survives hardship
Neighborhood news briefs
Edgewood to ask for 6.9-mill levy
St. Mary students connect with 95 years of history
Lakota students discuss Jones case
Rev. Zugelter served decades at St. Louis
ENQUIRER'S WISH LIST
Students want 100 baskets for seniors