( Cincinnati, OH ) - The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the City of Cincinnati’s attempt to create a separate sewer district.
The ruling extends the Metropolitan Sewer District Operating Agreement by Court order, and affirms the County is the owner of the utility and the City the operator. That means the City must follow the County’s directions.
“This decision is great news for all the ratepayers in the County. It maintains the integrity of the County Sewer District,” said Commission President Denise Driehaus.
“As the owner and principal of MSD, we will continue to work with the City of Cincinnati and the Court to keep the sewer district accountable to ratepayers, and we look forward to finding a long-term solution to our collective challenges.”
Commissioner Stephanie Dumas is hopeful this ruling will spark fresh collaboration between the City and County. She says that the two sides should be fighting for the people and the environment, and not against one another.
“Two years ago, we announced an historic agreement with the city that was to have cleaned up the mess at MSD. The Sixth Circuit's decision affirms our ability to have implemented that agreement. The city's two-year long refusal to accept the true legal relationship we each have with MSD deprived ratepayers from realizing the benefits of that agreement. We can now move forward with the complete confidence that we will be able to implement the basic tenets of that agreement and keep rates low while providing the fixes to the sewer system that we proposed be done; eliminating the environmental hazards that have been perpetuated by the city's refusal to work collaboratively with us as required by law.” says Commissioner Todd Portune.