Like water rates, sewer rates in Hamilton County are increasing.
County Commissioners approved the Metropolitan Sewer District's 2014 budget, which includes a six percent rate hike. MSD is undergoing a massive multi-billion dollar system overhaul required by a federal consent decree.
MSD had asked for a $226.7 million operating budget but the county's new utility oversight director, Dave Meyer, says the sewer district can get by with $210.7 million. Commissioners chose to follow Meyer's recommendation.
Cincinnati and Hamilton County have been locked in a battle for more than six months about the bidding rules for Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) construction projects.
The county created and owns the sewer district, so it argues state and federal procurement guidelines must be used. But Cincinnati says since it operates MSD, and the city's bidding procedures must be followed.
Two Cincinnati Council Members are calling for the city's responsible bidder ordinance to be repealed because they say it is holding up needed Metropolitan Sewer District projects.
Council Members Charlie Winburn and Christopher Smitherman discussed the issue Monday during a Job Growth Committee meeting.
“The only solution this Council has is to repeal the responsible bidder ordinance,” Smitherman said. “Then try to normalize our relationships with our county partners by talking with them offline in a tone that is understandable”
Could a Metropolitan Sewer District stalemate between Cincinnati and Hamilton County be coming to an end?
The sides have been at odds over city-enacted hiring policies. The county specifically doesn't like a responsible bidder provision requiring contractors to graduate apprentices (at least one per year for five years).
Councilman Chris Seelbach is proposing a solution he thinks the county will like. He says he's willing to throw out the apprentice graduation requirement in favor of an incentive program.