Update 2:40 p.m.
Hamilton County Commission President Chris Monzel says “The city’s repeated and flagrant disregard of its obligations stated very clearly under the 2014 Federal Court Order made today’s court action necessary. “We respectfully ask the court to enforce its previous order and allow Hamilton County to bring accountability and transparency which are so badly needed in MSD operations.”
Cincinnati's mayor says the situation can be resolved without litigation. John Cranley, flanked by five city council members and other city officials, announced an independent commission to investigate the procurement policies at MSD. Cranley says the county's litigation is not a good use of ratepayer resources. He says the two sides can negotiate any issues involving MSD without going to court. He also presented two letters the city sent to Hamilton County officials in 2015 asking for such negotiations. Cranley also says a complete county takeover of the sewer district would destroy the pension settlement the city finalized with various parties last year.
The Hamilton County Commission filed a lawsuit in U-S District Court Monday asking the court to enforce a 2014 federal court order which requires the city of Cincinnati to operate the Metropolitan Sewer District under the county's direction.
The commissioners are also asking the court to order formal mediation between the city and the county. The lawsuit asks the court to order the city to follow the county's resolutions and directives.
The current 50 year agreement put in place in 1968 established that Hamilton County owns the sewer district and sets its budget. The city manages it and retains ownership of the assets it brought to the agreement.