Hamilton County Commission

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday morning on re-opening the bidding process on some Metropolitan Sewer District projects.

The board initiated the moratorium to force renewed talks between the county and the city, which runs the sewer district. At issue are several city initiated hiring policies and practices the county dislikes, and in some cases says are illegal.

The county is re-opening the bid process following a city council vote two weeks ago to suspend the hiring policies until August.

Sarah Ramsey

The committee that reviews county tax levies is recommending Hamilton County Commissioners place a flat renewal of the Cincinnati Zoo levy on the November ballot.

That's a win for zoo as that's what it had requested.

The committee says it believes the Zoo wouldn't be able to operate at its "current high level of effectiveness without the levy funds." 

The county's Tax Levy Review Committee is also recommending the Zoo continue to look for ways to be less reliant on county taxpayers.

Sarah Ramsey

City and county officials now have about five weeks to try to work out a compromise on several Metropolitan Sewer District policies (MSD).

Council voted unanimously Wednesday to suspend its local hiring policy until August 1. Until then the sides will try to reach an agreement on it and a portion of a responsible bidder policy that requires apprenticeships.

Sarah Ramsey

Just days after announcing a compromise, county and city leaders could be heading back to square one.

Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel had planned to lead a vote Wednesday to reopen the bidding process for Metropolitan Sewer District projects. The board instituted a moratorium several weeks ago when Cincinnati City Council refused to scrap its local hiring and responsible bidder requirements.

Sarah Ramsey

The Cincinnati Zoo's operating levy is up for renewal this fall. It's still uncertain for how much the zoo will ask. One anti-tax group is arguing if the zoo is such a boon to the entire region, then other counties should help pay for it.

Can they do that?

Beginning next week, county employees will see their paychecks go up.

Hamilton County Commissioners Wednesday approved the first pay raises in nearly six years for non-union workers.

Board member Greg Hartmann says he's convinced the county's finances are stable enough to sustain the increases.

"The need has been demonstrated that we need to do it," he says. "Can we? Can we afford it? The conclusion that I've come to is yes, that we can. We can do it. Without raising taxes, we can do it, without layoffs. I'm convinced of that."

Hamilton County Juvenile Court

Hamilton County Commissioners are instructing County Facilities Director Ralph Linne to review Juvenile Judge Tracie Hunter's courtroom and make upgrade recommendations.

While Cincinnati City Council looks into its emergency communications operations following a recent television news investigation, Hamilton County is offering one possible solution.

Commissioners Wednesday approved a resolution supporting a joint city/county emergency communications center.

Commissioner Greg Hartmann says this is a great opportunity for shared services.

Hamilton County Juvenile Court

Supporters filled Hamilton County Commission chambers Wednesday demanding more respect for Judge Tracie Hunter.

The Juvenile Court judge is locked in bitter battles with fellow Juvenile Court Judge John Williams, the county prosecutor's office and several media outlets.

Supporters like Zakiyyah Allen say Hunter's being jerked around by the county.

"It's a mockery," says Allen. "It's a slap in the face. Why is so much time, money and energy being wasted to prevent her from doing her job verses spending the money to let her do her job?"

Hamilton County Commissioners Chris Monzel and Greg Hartmann are calling on the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) to pull promised dollars from the Cincinnati Streetcar project.

In a letter, the pair say that because of "significant cost overruns" they believe OKI's $4 million could be better spent elsewhere. They also request alternative options for the money's use be brought before the OKI executive council.

They write: