Hamilton County Commission

Hamilton County administrators are continuing the process to take over ownership of the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital site.

Assistant County Administrator Jeff Aluotto says boundary, environmental and other surveys are nearly complete.

"We are looking to do this right," says Aluotto. "We're looking to do this in a measured way. In a prudent way. This is less from our perspective about what is out there in 2015 and 2016 and more about how we position this to be a strategic center for county government in 2020, 2025, 2030, moving out."

Hamilton County and the Bengals have a reached a deal that could pave the way for luring General Electric to the Banks.

The county announced Thursday the Bengals have agreed to waive height restrictions that would've halted a office space large enough to house General Electric's new Southwest Ohio Global Operations headquarters and a planned apartment building in exchange for six items.

Commissioner Greg Hartmann says the deal will allow the county and city to aggressively bid for GE.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are officially asking a federal judge to intervene in their  Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) dispute with Cincinnati.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to ask for a ruling on which body gets to set policies for the district.

The sewer district is owned by the county but operated by the city.

The sides have been at odds over hiring and procurement policies instituted by the city. County Commissioners argue the policies are unfair and in some cases illegal. City attorneys and a majority of council members disagree.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Hamilton County is moving in the right direction and continuing to be strong despite facing challenging times. That's how Commission President Chris Monzel led off his 2014 State of the County address Thursday.

The speech focused on the three main priorities from last year's address: county infrastructure, finances and economic development.

Monzel pointed out the county is looking at how to best utilize its building stock and also take advantage of its newest acquisition - the former Mercy Mount Airy hospital site.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel is clarifying what he says are some misconceptions about the current Metropolitan Sewer District standoff with the City of Cincinnati. Specifically, procurement policies set forth by the city which the county says are unfair and in some cases illegal.

"First, at this point, only three projects are potentially being impacted due to this issue," he says. "Several others are awaiting technical evaluation and others are scheduled to be brought forward over the next several months. Many of the projects do not have time sensitive schedules."

Hamilton County Commissioners could vote Wednesday morning on whether to accept the offer of the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital.

Catholic Health Partners is offering to give it to the county for use as a new crime lab but that plan's in limbo over a proposal to move the Board of Elections there as well.

The elections board is split on the idea. Those in favor say it makes financial sense. Those opposed say moving the board out of downtown will restrict access to early voting.

The county leases the board's current downtown location.

Hamilton County Commissioners continue to weigh an offer to turn the former Mercy Mount Airy hospital into a new crime lab.

Catholic Health Partners is willing to give the facility to the county for free and the county coroner says the cost to renovate the old hospital would be a lot less than building a whole new crime lab. To make the deal cost effective, however, the county wants to move the Board of Elections out there as well.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners say they're willing to work with the city but when it comes to making Metropolitan Sewer District decisions, they're in charge.

In a resolution passed Wednesday the board agreed to set inclusion goals similar to the aim of the city's Responsible Bidder ordinance. The county says that ordinance is unfair. It also dislikes the city's Local Preference policy and says it's illegal.

Hamilton County will pay nearly $2 million to clean up a mercury spill last summer at two Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) sites and the Rumpke Landfill in Colerain Township.

*Update*  The Hamilton County Tax Levy Review Committee is recommending the Developmental Disabilities Levy be put on the May ballot as a flat renewal. The TLRC also recommends the agency implement the consultant's recommendations listed below.

Hamilton County Commissioners will hear more details Monday about the upcoming Developmental Disabilities Levy.

The Tax Levy Review Committee makes its recommendation to the board Monday morning.

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