Cincinnati, Hamilton County Reach Water Rate Deal For Townships

May 9, 2019

After months of feuding over a plan to raise water rates for certain county communities, townships and unincorporated areas, Cincinnati and Hamilton County say they have a deal.

Under the announced deal, township residents will continue to pay the same rate they have been. That is a multiplier of 1.25 times the rate Cincinnati residents pay. Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus says this is a 50-year deal.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says the deal means ratepayers will actually save money. That's because the county is agreeing to allow the Metropolitan Sewer District to pay $6.3 million toward fixing corrosion that causes landslides along Riverside Drive.

The sides went to court after negotiations broke down, with Hamilton County leaders arguing a task force assigned to determine a rate structure wasn't being allowed by Cincinnati to complete its work.

Issues arose as the previous water contract came to an end. The city planed to increase rates for some users from 1.25 times the rate Cincinnati residents pay to 1.43 times that amount. Township leaders balked at this notion and county commissioners agreed with them. The townships argued their residents should get the same rate as everyone else. Some threatened to leave the system and purchase water from other area water agencies.

Tom Weidman is chairman of the Sycamore Township board of trustees and president of the Hamilton County Township Association. He is delighted with the agreement.

"This agreement is clearly the right thing," he says. "The 1.25 multiplier is consistent with cities and villages throughout Hamilton County, and our 50-year agreement allows Greater Cincinnati Water Works to financially stabilize their budgets for the long-term, knowing that our township residents will be their customers for a very long time."