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Debate over MSD policies rages on

Tana Weingartner

Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel is clarifying what he says are some misconceptions about the current Metropolitan Sewer District standoff with the City of Cincinnati. Specifically, procurement policies set forth by the city which the county says are unfair and in some cases illegal.

"First, at this point, only three projects are potentially being impacted due to this issue," he says. "Several others are awaiting technical evaluation and others are scheduled to be brought forward over the next several months. Many of the projects do not have time sensitive schedules."

Supporters of the city's Responsible Bidder ordinance say the county is holding up the process which could wind up costing taxpayers lots of money in penalties.

Monzel disputes that saying the EPA has told him no penalties can be assessed until December 31, 2014.

He also said while the county doesn't like the idea of going to court over the matter, it's willing to do so.

In an emailed statement, Build 513 founder Rob Richardson says, "I find it disgraceful that Commissioner Monzel is now blackmailing Cincinnati taxpayers with threats of frivolous litigation, which could put MSD projects at further risk of costly fines for missed EPA deadlines. Instead of doing the bidding of the corporate front-group that hosted his political fundraiser, Commissioner Monzel should release the funds under the City's Responsible Bidder Ordinance, which cities all across the country already have in place to hold all contractors accountable for training local workers. So we call on the rest of our Commissioners and Council Members to join our coalition in denouncing Monzel's frivolous litigation threats because it's time to let the work begin."

Build 513 plans a rally at 12:30 p.m. Thursday outside the County Administration Building downtown.