Hamilton County Commission

Provided / Hamilton County

Hamilton County is preparing to create a Heroin Task Force aimed at curbing the rapidly increasing number of users and overdoses.

Commission President Greg Hartmann announced the effort during his annual State of the County address Thursday.

"Nine thousand heroin addicts came through our jail in 2013," says Hartmann. "There's seven heroin overdoses per day in the City of Cincinnati. I've begun discussions in Columbus. I'm also going to invite the City and our public health experts."

His office later released the following goals for 2015:

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Commission President Greg Hartmann delivers the State of Hamilton County address Thursday.

He says the county's finances are doing well, thanks to several years of tight budgets, and cuts.

"Our balance sheet is as good as it has been in the last decade," says Hartmann.  "I think that we're proud of that. It's involved shared sacrifice by many employees of the county."

He also plans to recognize some of those county workers.

Amy Spasoff / Memorial Hall

Update: 02/04/2015

Over-the-Rhine's historic Memorial Hall is ready to undergo major renovations. Hamilton County Commissioners today agreed to enter a development agreement with 3CDC to update and operate the 600-seat performance hall.

All three commissioners voted 'yes' on the project, which includes a $1.5 million contribution from the county.

 

Original post date: 02/02/2015 3:27 p.m.

Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine is poised to undergo renovations if Hamilton County Commissioners sign off on the project.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

An aluminum tile wall in the Hamilton County Justice Center lobby is falling down and ArtWorks has a plan to fix it.

"It's going to cost us the same amount of money to either remediate that wall and paint it white," says Lisa Webb with the county budget office, "or have ArtWorks come in and put a beautiful mural up on the wall."

Webb says the current decorative aluminum tiles are coming off the wall, creating a public safety hazard.

The Sheriff's office, county officials and ArtWorks will soon begin brainstorming ideas to replace the tiles with a painting.

Hamilton County's budget office reports the county has spent roughly $460,000 prosecuting suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter.

When including what the county spent in other Hunter-related court cases, the county says it spent more than $1.4 million in 2013 and 2014.

The Reverend Damon Lynch III and others Wednesday asked Commissioners to halt Hunter's retrial. The commissioners pay the bills, but have no say in whether or not the prosecution goes forward.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commission President Greg Hartmann says talks with the city about shared services are going well and he's optimistic.

He says a public meeting is being scheduled between the board, the mayor and Cincinnati Council's Major Transportation and Regional Cooperation Committee "to discuss opportunities for sharing and collaborating on services where we can achieve cost savings and improve efficiencies."

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Chris Monzel has taken the oath of office for his second term as a Hamilton County Commissioner.  With his wife and three children beside him, Monzel repeated the oath, as read by his mother.

And his fellow Republican, Greg Hartmann was elected to be the new president of the three-member commission for the next two years. 

Monzel said when he was first elected to the board in 2010, he said county government could not be operated “business as usual”.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners gather Monday for their annual organizational meeting.

Greg Hartmann is expected to take over as board president.

He says says jobs, public safety, and dealing with Metropolitan Sewer District issues top his plans for 2015.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

It's official: Metropolitan Sewer District rates will go up 5.5 percent next year.

Sewer rates have been increasing every year to pay for the multi-billion dollar federally mandated system overhaul. Hamilton County Commissioners Wednesday approved MSD's 2015 budget despite fresh conflict with the city over the Lick Run project.

The county's utility oversight director says 5.5 percent breaks down this way:

The 2014 quarterly bill is $110.71 for a typical single family residential customer (or $442.84 per year)

Provided / Hamilton County Commission

Great American Ball Park is getting some new seats in time for the 2015 All Star Game.

About five years after the stadium was built, the Reds noticed some of the seats were breaking. The company that made them fixed some. A competing vender quoted $5 million to fix everything.

Instead, Hamilton County Stadium Director Joe Feldkamp says he's found two local companies that will do the job for less, and support another county initiative in the process.

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