Hamilton County Commission

Sarah Ramsey

Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune were officially sworn in Wednesday to serve their new terms on Hamilton County Commission.

Hartmann repeated his mantra that these are challenging times for county government but says there are bright spots as well, like the county Land Bank.

Hamilton County Commissioners are throwing out hiring and procurement policies related to the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).

The city, which operates MSD had instituted new bidding requirements the county, which owns MSD, says were unfair- and in some cases illegal. Chief among them were apprenticeship requirements and a policy giving preference to contractors within city limits.

Commission President Chris Monzel says a working group will be formed to draft a new procurement policy.

WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners reorganized Monday with Chris Monzel assuming the presidency.

Monzel says he plans to stay the course laid out by fellow commissioner Greg Hartmann.

"Definitely public safety is the number one priority for Hamilton County. And it's something that's important and especially with the new Sheriff coming on board of what the public safety needs are. So that's number one, that's always been the number one priority to me in government," he says.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are ordering a performance and efficiency review of the Metropolitan Sewer District.

The utility is undertaking a multi-billion dollar, federally mandated system upgrade.

Commissioner Chris Monzel proposed the review.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners have approved a 5-percent rate increase for Metropolitan Sewer District customers starting January 9.  Sewer rates have been climbing for several years to pay for a $ 3.2 billion system upgrade required to comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

Commissioner Todd Portune said about 780 other local governments are in the same position at a cost of more than $500 billion.

Sewer rates in Hamilton County will likely go up again next year, though not quite as much as expected.

The Metropolitan Sewer District is recommending County Commissioners  approve a five percent increase for each of the next five years. That's less than the eight percent rates went up in 2012. Sewer District Director Tony Parrott says the smaller projected increases are possible because of reduced costs related to changes in a project along the Lower Mill Creek.

Angry employees and people who regularly use the Hamilton County Recorder's office packed Commission chambers Wednesday. They want funding restored to the Recorder's budget so he won't go through with closing the office on Friday's.

Earlier this month Wayne Coates announced the four-day work week is needed to manage the nearly 25 percent cut to his 2013 budget.

Paul Berlage with the Southwestern Ohio Land Title Association says avoiding filing delays is paramount.

If you need to file documents in Hamilton County, you'll have one fewer day per week to do so.

Michael Keating

It's down to either raising the sales tax or reducing the property tax rebate.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are pushing back the date to pass a 2013 general fund budget.

Board President Greg Hartmann's plan has two votes but he'd prefer to present a unified front and have it pass unanimously.

Lone Democrat Todd Portune says, "no offense to Hartmann" but...

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