Update on Sewer District Town Hall

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls spoke at the MSDGC* Town Hall sponsored by ECO: Environmental Community Organization and Sierra Club.

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Matt Trokan and Jed Thorpe test water quality in Kings Run, which is heavily eroded due to surges from the combined sewer overflow

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.