England was mayor for two terms in the 1990s and was elected to another term four years ago. He announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election this year in order to spend more time with his family.
England has often clashed with members of the city council, and he alluded to his frustrations trying to balance the budget in his announcement. The mayor says he’ll spend the rest of his time in office eliminating the city’s deficit. He hopes to do that by pulling about $2 million out of the city’s rainy day fund.
“We have cut everywhere we can and there telling us we need to keep cutting,” he says. “The only way I can cut and balance the budget is to cut firehouses and lay off firemen. I’ll never do that.”
After the announcement, England told reporters he will remain active in the city.
“Oh no I won’t be out of politics. I won’t be out of politics. I’ll be doing a lot of helping and a lot of un-helping,” he said.
England is supporting businessman, economic development commission member, and fellow Democrat Irv Stumler in this year’s mayor’s race.
Stumler says he wants to run an issues-oriented campaign. One of the issues he’s concerned with is the Ohio River Bridges Project. He says he supports current efforts to make the project smaller and less expensive, but thinks they should go further.
“I would kind of like to, say, hold off on the downtown bridge. Maybe redo part of Spaghetti Junction to make it more drivable, less problems,” he says. “I just don’t know if we should burden ourselves with that much money. It probably, for sure, in the future will be needed. But maybe we should build it and pay for it when it’s needed.”
Stumler is the first candidate to formally launch his campaign, but other candidates from both parties are expected to file to run soon. The filing period began Wednesday.