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Hamilton County sewer rates increasing; new counsel requested for Judge Hunter

Tana Weingartner

Hamilton County Commissioners continue to take public comments on the proposed 2014 Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) budget.

MSD is asking for a $226.7 million operating budget but the county's new utility oversight director says the sewer district can get by with $210.7 million.

What both sides DO agree on, is a six percent rate increase.

MSD's Jack Rennekamp  says, "the average residential customer... will see his/her quarterly annualized bill go from from $188.15 to $199.45."

Water rates are also going up. Earlier this year Cincinnati City Council approved a $12.44 increase ($3.11/quarter) for the average Greater Cincinnati Water Works customer.

A final public hearing on the MSD budget will be held during next Wednesday's County Commission meeting.

Judge Tracie Hunter

Credit Hamilton County Juvenile Court

A former Cincinnati Councilman and a well-respected preacher are imploring Hamilton County Commissioners to take a good look at county-appointed attorneys charged with representing Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter.

Cecil Thomas and Bishop Bobby Hilton say an unbiased investigation is needed into a bevy of allegations and charges against Hunter including missed court deadlines and failure of her attorneys to respond to higher court requests.

Thomas says Hunter's appointed attorneys donated to Prosecutor Joe Deters campaign. Deters and Hunter have been at odds for several years.

"Something stinks here," says Thomas. "It smells. And we're not going to stop until we get to the bottom of it. All we ask from each one of you is that you take this under advisement and do a thorough investigation. Those two attorneys should be removed."

Thomas says an independent counsel should be appointed.

Mostly recently Hunter has been under fire for having 79 cases pending beyond Ohio Supreme Court deadlines. However, her personal attorney says Hunter's counterpart, Judge John Williams, had 109 outstanding cases at the same time and no legal action was taken against him.