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Hamilton County Pushing For Change In State Sewer Laws

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Hamilton County commissioners are considering an assistance program for certain Metropolitan Sewer District customers.A public hearing is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the board of elections.

Interim Director Diana Christy says the program would offer a lower rate for homeowners aged 65 and older who meet certain poverty levels and other criteria. She says similar programs in other communities have low participation rates.

Communities United for Action (CUFA) has long advocated such a plan. However, they'd like to see it expanded beyond what's being offered, such as by including renters age 65 and older and setting the discount at 40 percent instead of 20 percent.

Commissioners are also calling on other local leaders to join them in backing a change to state law. The legislation being proposed by Senator Cecil Thomas would allow counties to offer more help to people who have trouble paying their sewer bills.

"Right now the Ohio Revised Code confines county sewer districts to a certain type of customer assistance program," says County Administrator Jeff Aluotto. "This action, assuming the legislature moves on it at the state level, would broaden that authority significantly."

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.