Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann said they are committed to fixing the broken relationship between the city and county concerning the Metropolitan Sewer District.  Both spoke after an hour long meeting Monday at City Hall.  

Hartmann said for MSD to be successful, the county has to have a coordinated approach with the city.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A multi-million dollar sewer project is unexpectedly on hold and that has a lot of Hamilton County and Metropolitan Sewer District officials scratching their heads.

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black did something no one was expecting on Dec. 5. He sent a letter to companies who'd bid to do work on the Lick Run Valley Conveyance System project, terminating negotiations. That came as a major surprise to Ulliman Schutte Construction, which had already been awarded the job and signed contracts with the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

After the first of two public hearings on the Metropolitan Sewer District's 2015 budget, one thing is clear: there's still a lot of animosity between the utility and Hamilton County Commissioners.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County sewer rates could go up 5.5 percent next year. That's the recommendation from county administrators.

Rates have been increasing for several years and are expected to keep doing so to pay for the multi-billion dollar, federally mandated sewer system upgrade. Last year, commissioners approved a six percent increase.

Sarah Ramsey

So far the city is saving money by merging the administrative functions of the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, the Metropolitan Sewer District and the stormwater utility.  

A council committee got an update Tuesday.  

The savings right now is projected to be $55 million during the next decade.  That is less than the initial feasibility study suggested, but officials are still crunching the numbers.  

Director Tony Parrott said so far, so good.

The Cincinnati Bengals are a step closer to getting that new scoreboard. Hamilton County is reviewing bids to replace the scoreboard and control room.

County finance specialist Erica Riehl expects the total will be about $10 million based on bids the county received.

The county is required to pay for the upgrade, however, under a bargain struck last year, the Bengals are chipping in $2.5 million.

The contract will likely be awarded by the end of the year.

Sarah Ramsey

The Hamilton County Commissioners are reemphasizing a ruling from a federal magistrate in June that the county gets to make the rules for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), and the city of Cincinnati as the operator must follow them.  

The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday outlining county policies and directives for MSD that have been given in the past and adding some new ones.

Hamilton County Commission President Chris Monzel:

A federal magistrate ruled this morning that Cincinnati's responsible bidder ordinance is invalid and that Hamilton County makes the rules for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).

The county owns the sewer system, but the city operates it.

The city and the county have been fighting for more than two years over the responsible bidder ordinance, which would force MSD contractors to have apprentice programs and pay into a pre-apprenticeship fund. Unions favor the ordinance, because many of them have apprentice programs.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Metropolitan Sewer District, Tony Parrot, will participate in a national discussion on U.S. water infrastructure Wednesday in Washington D.C.

Parrot joins the U.S. EPA's Nancy Stoner, Veolia Water North America and Mark Strauss with American Waterin the Value of Water Coalition's national panel discussion to help other communities deal with crumbling water and wastewater infrastructure.

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.