Miss the program?? See it here on Vimeo
October 15, 2014 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Cincinnati Zoo Peacock Pavilion 3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220 (free parking) note new location! Enter on the Forest Avenue side
How can the Metropolitan Sewer District’s Rates be made Fair and Affordable? We need clean water and repairs to our infrastructure and we need the jobs this infrastructure repair will create for the next couple decades. And we need a trained, skilled workforce to deliver outstanding value for the dollar.
Join us for an overview, questions and answers and discussion on making sure our sewer rates are fair and affordable and we get the work done to fix the sewers promptly, with a well trained workforce.
sponsored by Sierra Club, ECO: Environmental Community Organization, Faith Community Alliance, NaREIA, Applied Information Resources.
Panelist include Sierra Club, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Communities United for Action, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, BUILD513
Let us know you are coming! click here!
The Hamilton County Commission passed new transparency and reporting rules on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSDGC). These rules
- require MSDGC to remove ‘contingency’ costs from each individual project and sets up a system for managing and overseeing contingency funds.
- sets up processes for MSDGC performance assessments that the County will oversee
- annual legislation of projects (de-authorizes expenditures)
- adherence to GASB standards for accounting
- capitalization policies
- cash flow schedule
- prohibitions on fund transfers
- procedures for spending Allowance categories
- procedures for MOU (memorandums of understanding)
- public relations funding
- monthly program reports for consent decree and asset management projects
- performance metrics
- oversight of project design and conformance with the consent decree
- copies of all notifications to state, local or federal government agencies
- immediate reports of cost variations from the Wet Weather Program project cost estimates
- County access to MSDGC documents.
ECO supports these changes and encourages increased transparency (i.e., these rules pertain primarily to capital projects. The MSDGC operating budget also deserves more scrutiny.)
Due to the frigid weather and the state of the Civic Garden Center’s parking lot, we have decided to postpone our Changing Course program originally scheduled for tomorrow evening.
SAVING THE PLANET WITH YOUR FORK is postponed till the fourth Sunday in February: February 23, 2014.
Next time William Messer will be presenting his talk at St. John’s UU Church in Clifton, the usual venue. We will send out a reminder.
Please circulate attached flyer.
Meanwhile, Save the Date: Changing Course program in March:
Sunday March 30: “Revisiting Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth: New Realities and Local Impacts”
Speaker: Larry Falkin, Director City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment and Sustainability.
A lot has happened since 2007 when Al Gore won the Noble Prize for his oscar-winning documentary Inconvenient Truth. The threat of future climate change has turned into a reality whose effects we see almost every day. How has Al Gore’s message changed since 2007? What does climate change mean for Cincinnati?
Larry Falkin, the City of Cincinnati’s Director of Environment and Sustainability will present the updated Al Gore Climate Reality presentation and discuss what it means locally. In the summer of 2013, Larry spent three days with Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project receiving intensive training for this presentation.
Saving the Planet with your Fork
WHEN: Postponed to Feb 23, 2014 7-9 pm
WHERE: St. John’s UU Church in Clifton
Did you know …that someone riding a bicycle following the Standard American Diet does more environmental harm than a vegetarian driving a hummer?
William Messer, local artist, curator, critic and first amendment and environmental activist, will lead a discussion on the impacts of meat production and consumption on our ecosystem.
Cincinnatians eating meat just one day a week less, accomplishes greater green house gas reductions than virtually anything else we can do.
Cosponsors: Woman’s City Club, League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, ECO:Environmental Community Organization, St. John’s UU Green Sanctuary Partners
too much plastic in your life?
Join us at the film screening for Bag It. As part of the Cincinnati Past Plastic‘s campaign, we’re working to get rid of the blight of single-use-plastic bags !
Join us Jan 12 at 1 pm at Unity of Garden Park for the free film screening !
more info at Bag It
Fact Sheet about Cincinnati, Combined Sewer Overflows
Hamilton County has over 200 sewer overflows. Some are Combined Sewer Overflows and some are Sanitary Sewer Overflows. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) were designed to carry stormwater and sewage. Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) were designed to carry sanitary sewage only but often have stormwater entering the system anyway.
When it rains the volume of sewage and rainwater exceeds what the pipes and treatment plants can handle. This causes overflows into rivers and streams, sewage backups into basements of homes and businesses, overflowing manholes in streets and parks and other public and private property.
These overflows are a public health risk from sewage borne diseases. The condition of the system also shows the impact from decades of neglect and failure to replace, repair and upgrade the system.
The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSDGC), which is owned by Hamilton County and run by the City of Cincinnati, is under court orders (consent decree) to correct this problem. Despite some information on the web (projectgroundwork.org), it is difficult to tell what has been accomplished, what the benefits have been and when work will be completed.
Sewer rates began increasing for the consent decree projects and also for asset management projects around 2008. Asset management projects are normal repair and replacement projects needed to keep the system functioning. The total cost of Project Groundwork is reported to be $3.25 billion paid primarily through sewer rates.
The following information was found on the Metropolitan Sewer District’s website http://msdgc.org:
“Every year, about 11.5 billion gallons of raw sewage – mixed with storm water – overflows from our sewers into local streams and rivers and also backs up into basements. This is not an accident or oversight, but the result of a sewer system designed to meet the needs of an earlier generation, not our modern society.”
“Overflows occur as many as 105 times a year at some locations.”
Each year MSDGC prepares an operating budget, a capital budget and a rate increase recommendation for the Hamilton County Commission’s review and approval.
MSDGC’s notice of public hearing is here http://msdgc.org/about_msd/hearings_and_notices/public_hearing_cip_dec_2013/
Additional information is available on the right-hand side of the page, under downloads.
The Hamilton County Commission has also posted information at http://www.hamiltoncountyohio.gov/administrator/bsi/budget.asp
Look about half way down the page for
- MSD Budget Transmittal
- MSD Requested Operating Budget
- MSD Requested Capital Budget and Capital Improvement Program
- MSD Rate Study
The first document 2014 Recommended Sewer District Budget and Capital Plan is of particular note since it outlines the County’s issues with the MSDGC recommendations.
The public hearings on the rate increase will be held on December 4 and December 11, 2013 at 138 East Court Street, Room 603, Cincinnati, Ohio, at 11:30 am each of the two days. Comments can also be sent to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Additional contact information can be found at http://www.hamilton-co.org/hc/bocc_default.asp
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls spoke at the MSDGC* Town Hall sponsored by ECO: Environmental Community Organization and Sierra Club.
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls raised several important points about public participation and MSDGC.
Qualls said insist on a policy of transparency.
- Accountability and performance measures must be established.
- MSDGC must keep reporting back to the public.
- We need to be sure we are getting our money’s worth.
- The discussion needs to be opened up.
- We need to open up the process for smaller projects that benefit neighborhoods, not just multi-million gallon projects.
- Building codes need to include green infrastructure especially when the city is subsidizing projects in some way.
- We need to encourage and have incentives for green infrastructure.
- We need alternative rate structures to reduce the impact of high sewer rates on the fixed-income, low-income residents.
- The city needs to work with the county to solve financial concerns, improve transparency and accountability,
- and set performance measures.
- The city needs to set standards and expectations for information sharing and being responsive to citizen requests and address their concerns.
- Independent analysis of MSD’s performance, for example are they meeting forecasted projects, making progress toward water quality goals, etc.
Sierra Club and ECO met with MSDGC Director Tony Parrott and Mary Lynn Loder following the Town Hall Meeting to discuss the public participation report. Mr Parrott responded that MSDGC needs to do more. One follow up item is the 2012 Capital Budget report. MSDGC has posted it on their website in the reports section of their projectgroundwork.org pages. Mr. Parrott also committed to holding a design workshop with residents of Kings Run.
*MSDGC is the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati. MSDGC was established in 1968 by an agreement where Hamilton County owns the sewer system and the City of Cincinnati operates it.
On June 27, Sierra Club and ECO released a report on the Metropolitan Sewer District Public Participation.
With 11 to 14 billion gallons of untreated sewage mixed with stormwater reaching our local rivers, more needs to be done to engage the public in solving this threat to public health.