Conservation Committee Agenda January 9 2019
At 103 Wm Howard Taft Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Enter building from rear, press intercom #9
Call Marie at 305-3073 if you are having trouble getting in.
1. Water issues – ORSANCO
a. Discussion with Sally Dannemiller and Alan Ullman from NOPE
b. Sierra Club multi-state plan for ORSANCO – Nathan, Harry, Marie
2. Energy issues – Ned, Kaniz
a. Duke pipeline – Duke has restarted their application process
b. Action on getting more efficiency, renewables
i. Gas boiler efficiency
c. Inning on net zero buildings
3. Water issue – MSD
a. Update on CUFA’s strategy – rate relief, basement backups, phase 2 – Loa
b. City and County continued fight & consent decree project delay – Marilyn
a. Transit levy – see attached commentary from Enquirer, Better Bus is continuing its efforts. Loa, Marilyn,
b. TID, Eastern Corridor – Nathan
5. Dirty Steel – Marilyn
6. Plastic Pollution – Ben, Marie
7. Actions for new volunteers
a. Lobby training – Ned, Nathan
b. Legislative committee
i. Track voting records
8. Other topics
Join our google group for updates and actions
1. There will be no bus levy.
City Hall and Hamilton County face too many hurdles to risk putting a bus tax on the countywide ballot this year, Mayor John Cranley told Politics Extra on Friday.
“Just like the Preschool Promise took four years (to build community support), this is a multi-year effort,” Cranley said. “The more likely scenario is we go to the ballot in 2020. We can’t get it wrong.”
The SORTA board officially will decide whether a levy will happen, but the mayor and county commissioners really call the shots. A majority of the board members are Cranley appointees. The commissioners appoint everyone else, and Todd Portune said top county leaders haven’t warmed to the idea of a bus levy in 2019 yet.
Cranley has met with more than 20 suburban politicians in the past few months, including from Green, Delhi and Anderson townships, Evendale and Harrison. He’s heard two recurring themes regarding what it’s going to take to get suburban buy-in for a ballot initiative:
• The city-SORTA streetcar divorce has to happen before a levy goes on the ballot. In addition to running Metro buses, SORTA operates the city-owned streetcar. Suburbanites can’t stand the often-empty streetcar, which they rightfully see as a waste of taxpayer money. As long as SORTA runs the streetcar, critics will push a narrative that a bus levy would help pay for the streetcar. Attorneys are working through the legal challenges of undoing the operations agreement to allow City Hall to run the rail line.
• State lawmakers must pass legislation to allow levy money to be used for both bus and infrastructure projects. Cranley is working with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and House Floor Leader Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, on the legislation. Suburbanites don’t ride the bus much, so better roads are what the suburbs could get out of a levy.
“If it’s bus-only, it won’t work,” Cranley said. “If it’s tied to the streetcar, it won’t work.”
Cranley added: “We have to clarify that it definitely involves infrastructure spending – significant, permanent funding for roads, bridges, potholes. And we have to make it clear that it has nothing to do with the streetcar. We will legally, explicitly and formally separate any and all levy dollars from the streetcar.”
Cranley’s right: Leaders will get one shot to get a bus levy right in a car-centric region. They need more time to build a countywide coalition and focus on public engagement. 2020 makes more sense. Trump-loathing Democrats will turn out in droves in a presidential year, and those voters are more favorable to tax levies.