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Nine Recommendations From MSD Rate Affordability Task Force

Bill Rinehart

A task force set up to review Metropolitan Sewer District rates has delivered its report to Hamilton County Commissioners. The committee's chair, Tom Moeller, says it worked with an eye on keeping rates affordable for customers, while meeting MSD's operational and capital needs, including improvements ordered by the consent decree.

"We were certainly trying not to make recommendations to increase revenue. This was again a revenue neutral effort on our part to try to identify affordability issues without raising rates in total for the district," Moeller says.

The task force is making nine recommendations to improve affordability.  Moeller says the suggestions aim to prevent a rate increase.

"We break these recommendations down into three areas: billing and rates, how to address the inflow and infiltration, which is a stormwater component of wastewater treatment, and then also any customer assistance programs."

The recommendations include changing customer billing from quarterly to monthly, basing bills on the meter at a house instead of the meter coming from the street, and creating discounts for some residents.

Moeller says another proposed change is a surcharge on properties that generate a lot of stormwater runoff.

"We are treating stormwater as part of the combined sewer systems and those costs have to be allocated across the district," Moeller says. "Because the water is not being generated necessarily by an individual unit or an individual business, it's what's falling out of the sky."

Commissioners plan to take action on the recommendations by Labor Day, but will make a decision on sewer rates by the end of June.