Hamilton County Commission

Hamilton County Commissioners Wednesday approved a two-year policy document.

The resolution outlines the board's guiding agenda for 2013 and 2014.

Board President Chris Monzel drafted the policy and says it continues the agenda set out by his predecessor and fellow commissioner Greg Hartmann.

The document focuses on three key areas: county finances and taxes, infrastructure, and economic development.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Historic Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine is getting a new lease on life.

Hamilton County Commissioners are leasing the performance hall to 3CDC. The 40-year-deal will allow for major renovations.

Marge Hammelrath is CEO of the Memorial Hall Society. She says the organization will maintain oversight of the building and its operations.

"That's our thing that we worked for in this agreement. We wanted to make sure that the hall stays in the hands of the people and we represent {the} community as a non profit," she says.

Hamilton County Commissioners feel they were left in the dark as the city and the Port Authority worked out Cincinnati's proposed parking outsourcing plan. They're drafting a letter to the city to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Commission President Chris Monzel says, "Making sure there's no risk exposure on the county's part for  what the Port's doing with the city and vice versa if we go off and do something with the county, could that hurt the city in any way. Those type of things, I think, need to be figured out in the future."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County is "on the move and getting stronger." That was the theme of Commission President Chris Monzel's State of the County address Thursday.

Monzel talked about the importance of keeping taxes low and how the Governor's proposed budget could benefit the ailing county stadium fund.

He says the county is also focused on infrastructure projects, especially the multi-billion dollar federally mandated sewer system upgrade. One money-saving plan involves ‘daylighting’ a stream to capture storm water rather than building a costly tunnel.

Commission supports Gov's budget

Feb 6, 2013
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

All three Hamilton County Commissioners are optimistic about Governor John Kasich's proposed state budget.

Republicans Chris Monzel and Greg Hartmann call the plan bold and filled with a lot of changes that could affect county government. Hartmann adds the proposed budget has the potential to be revolutionary.

Democrat Todd Portune agrees. He especially likes the plans for Medicaid.

More on the budget from Ohio Public Radio:

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.


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.