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Judge Temporarily Blocks Cincinnati From Raising Some County Water Rates


A Hamilton County Judge is, for now, blocking Cincinnati from raising water rates in unincorporated parts of Hamilton County.  
Judge Robert Ruehlman issued a temporary restraining order Thursday and set another hearing for September 12, where he'll consider a preliminary or permanent injunction.  

County commissioners went to court saying they want more time for a task force to finish its work and deliver a report on water rates.  

Some township leaders sought help from county commissioners earlier this month, calling the rate hike capricious and arbitrary.  

Cincinnati's acting city manager says the rate increase ensures revenues are adequate to recover ongoing operating costs and capital investment.

As WVXU reported Wednesday:

County Commissioner Todd Portune says several Cincinnati council members have told him they want to work with the county. "I want to acknowledge their good faith. I want to acknowledge their good efforts. I want to say to them and the entire council and the mayor that we remain willing and ready and able to resolve this issue amicably."

Portune says the task force should be allowed to finish its work and make a recommendation on what the rates should be.

Commissioner Denise Driehaus says in a written statement, "We must let the task force complete its work and offer recommendations in order to establish fair rates for township ratepayers."

Under the current contract, unincorporated parts of Hamilton County pay 1.25 times the base rate for water. Cincinnati Water Works has proposed raising that amount to 1.43.

Cincinnati and the county are already fighting in court over the operations of the Metropolitan Sewer District.