Chris Monzel says the state of the county is strong. The Hamilton County commission president delivered the annual State of the County address Thursday.
Monzel says after years of hardship, the local economy is rebounding nicely. “Just in the last five years, our sales tax (receipts) has increased over 4.6 percent on average each year. And just from 2014 to 2015 it’s increased over 5 percent.”
He says the trend is driven largely by the work of the Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation.
“We’re talking 3,400 new jobs. We’re talking 7,200 retained jobs, and over $1.4 billion of investment.”
Monzel says the county is living within its means while maintaining infrastructure, supporting public safety, and obeying federal mandates to upgrade the local sewer system.
The commission president is promising change at the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD). He says the City of Cincinnati has been responsible for wasteful spending while operating MSD.
“We’re going to change that. In the words of one of our Presidential candidates, we’re basically going to tell the city 'you’re fired.' We’re going to move on and find someone else who’s going to run this system effectively to protect the ratepayers.”
The contract that authorizes Cincinnati to run the county-owned MSD expires in 2018.
Monzel says it will take a lot of work to prepare for the handover. A new operator will need to be identified soon.
Details about a new crime lab could be announced soon, too. Monzel says negotiations are continuing on a couple of different sites.
“I wish I had an announcement today. I really wanted that. But as business negotiations go, it didn’t quite work out that way. So probably, hopefully, in the near future.”
Monzel says $30 million is budgeted in this year's capital fund for a crime lab and coroner's office.