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City Council Expresses Concern About Increasing Storm Water Rates

Storm Water Management Utility
City of Cincinnati
The barrier dam on the Mill Creek that provides flooding protection for parts of Cincinnati.

Some Cincinnati council members have questions about a proposal to increase storm water rates. The storm water utility wants a $5.3 million increase in 2018 and 2019.  
That money would pay for $41 million of improvements to the storm water system in the next five years.  

City engineer Eric Saylor says that includes upgrading and repairing the barrier dam on the Mill Creek.

"We have replaced a number of its components over the years, but more is necessary," Saylor says. "The barrier dam along with 1.5 miles of floodwall and 15 flood gates is located over in the Queensgate area and protects about $3 billion of public and private infrastructure."

Saylor says the city also wants to create a master plan of projects and funding to help deal with more flooding because of increasing extreme weather events. It would "lay out projects over 'x' number of years in a risk-based, prioritized approach and then lay out in turn what are the funding requirements for that work for the collection system, for flood protection, for barrier dam, and so forth."

Council Member Chris Seelbach says there needs to be a different model for storm water rates.

"For my support, we would need to change the model of funding to accurately charge the fee to the people who are contributing to the problem the most," Seelbach says.

The higher rates were planned to take effect on Jan. 1, but now may be delayed until February or March.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.