Truth behind county’s MSD vote comes out

UrbanCincy received an internal City email with additional information behind the County Commissioner’s Metropolitan Sewer District vote that happened Wednesday. The vote was to deny any money going to the Cincinnati Streetcar project – the city proposed 3 million be given to the project to replace aging sewer systems underneath the route, in an effort to prevent more costs to be incurred later.

Predictably, the Commissioners voted against the proposal. Here’s the rest of the story:

Hello all –

I wanted to share some background on all of the chatter about the vote taken by the County Commissioners today. Below is a breakdown of the effects that was sent to me today. The bottomline is that the County Commissioners are sucking up to COAST. Their vote will actually make the Streetcar project cheaper, and cost MSD rate payers more money in the future when they have to pay the full cost of upgrading the sewers. But, whoever let facts get in the way of a good political argument?!

I know you guys like facts though, so read on…

4 key points about today’s [Wednesday’s] vote:

1) The actions taken today by the BOCC [Board of County Commissioners] will not stop the streetcar project. In fact, if the BOCC decides not to allow MSD to permit in the cost sharing agreement, it will actually save the Streetcar project money, as the streetcar will only pay to relocate the minimum conflicts with MSD facilities.

2) We need a final determination on whether the BOCC will participate in the cost sharing agreement within the next week. Final design for the streetcar is due November 1, and currently includes sewer design based on the assumption that the cost sharing plan will go forward as proposed. Our plan is to begin bidding the construction of the streetcar, including the sewer work, by the end of this year. If the BOCC does not participate, we will need to redesign the sewer and work to the minimum scope as well as other aspects of the design. That work must get underway as soon as possible and the longer we wait to start it, the longer we delay bidding the construction.

3) The cost sharing plan as proposed offers the BOCC and MSD to perform $6 million work of work at a tremendous discount of 50%. The MSD work proposed to be performed under the cost sharing plan is work that will eventually be necessary, as the facilities are over 100 years old. They could break anytime. Our goal is, like any other project in the ROW, to coordinate construction activities so as to dig up the streets as few times as possible.
Not participating in the cost sharing plan will only ensure that the MSD work happens at greater expense to MSD ratepayers, as it will not benefit from the unique cost sharing opportunity currently presented. Likewise, it ensures that this inevitable MSD work will happen with greater difficulty, as it will need to take place in an environment in which they have to work around a functioning streetcar system.

4) The construction coordination that is being proposed under the cost sharing agreement is not new. Regardless of your position on the streetcar, the proposed plan not only represents good, efficient construction practice, but a unique opportunity to save MSD ratepayers money.


Despite some of our official’s best efforts, this is the little rail project that could.

  • A. who is this from?
    B. would sewer work mean tearing up & replacing track?
    C. If you get a chance, check out the public speakers at the commission meeting. My favorite was the lady who admitted to not knowing all the facts about neither the streetcar nor the subway, but felt it “sounded like the same thing”.
    The conspiracy guy was pretty good, too.

  • the email is from a City employee. got permission to publish the content without the name.

    sewer work after the streetcar is installed would mean ripping up track and street and putting it back in again.

  • *head meet desk*

    How in the world can these politicians make any claim to representing the best interest of the public? It’s a mystery to me.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    Copied and pasted comment from elsewhere:

    Make no mistake: The Board of County Commissioners voted to double the cost of their federally-mandated sewer upgrades just to spite the streetcar project. And in so doing, they ironically reduced the budget of the streetcar construction itself and lost any say over streetcar-related sewer manhole relocations. Welcome to “fiscal responsibility” as practiced by teabag-waving COASTers like Chris Monzel

    My response:

    The sad thing is, your paragraph really is too complicated for these people to understand. They will get upset and tune out before finishing the second sentence.

    Meanwhile, look at how all of city government was villified over the Diana Frey thing but Deters and the Commissioners are somehow at no fault with this recent scandal at Jobs & Family Services.

  • WKRC didn’t seem to grasp it.

  • Aaron Watkins

    Do they forget that the city is in the County? I say we do like Baltimore and become Independent.

  • Emily Schneider

    This vote today was disturbing. Shame on the BOCC. But I’m glad that this employee, at least, feels that it’s “the little rail project that could.”

  • The COAST Conspiracy

    Not only did Monzel and COAST support this resolution, but Democrat Todd Portune voted for it as well. Are you guys seriously claiming that Democrat Todd Portune, who does not oppose the streetcar, is conspiring with COAST to implement bad policy?

    You guys could try debating this issue honestly, and admit that a widespread coalition of people from COAST to Democrat Portune don’t think that county ratepayers should have to pay for Cincinnati’s streetcar. Instead you write these delusional articles with idiotic accusations, acting like Portune would conspire with COAST on anything.

  • Shame On You

    “The bottomline is that the County Commissioners are sucking up to COAST”

    Does Urban Cincy actually have any REAL information to prove that this is indeed the case? It sounds like some misinformed employee of the city is making assumptions hoping to score political points. Hamilton County is in dire financial shape with considerable a considerable number of employees layed off in the past few years. Do you not think that this fiscal situation has more to do with the vote than politics? Get you facts straight before you slander people.

  • Absolutely!
    No way it could be cheaper to repair the sewer while the street is tore up. The county should pay to repave the street instead of letting the city do it for the streetcar.


  • Jake Mecklenborg
  • J

    Ah, the game of politics.