Organizational endorsement: Fair Sewer Rates Coalition

17 endorsements

Communities United For Action and our partners at the Sierra Club and League of Women Voters are forming a Fair Sewer Rates Coalition to work for equity and fairness in our sewer rate structure. 

Why are sewer rates unfair?

Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati are under a Consent Decree to improve our obsolete Combined Sewers that spew 8 billion gallons per year of untreated sewage and stormwater into our waterways. The Consent Decree sewer fixes, estimated to cost about $4 billion, are largely funded through sewer rates and bonds.

Currently, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) has an archaic rate structure based on water usage instead of the actual burden on our combined sewers. 65% of the wastewater MSD currently treats is stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is what overwhelms combined sewers, causing overflows into our waterways and basement backups that continue to plague residents all over Hamilton County. So, it doesn't make sense to charge the bulk of the sewer rate based on water usage, which isn't the cause of overflows. We should be funding our sewer improvements equitably, in a way that reflects actual burden on our sewers. We need a rate structure that incentivizes controlling stormwater runoff as we deal with the impacts of climate change and increasingly severe rain events. 

Exacerbating the problem with inequitable rates, big users automatically get a 20% discount, costing residential ratepayers an estimated $17 million per year. So, the majority of ratepayers are further subsidizing big users, while we fail to implement assistance programs for the ratepayers in actual need, like low-income homeowners and renters, seniors, persons with disabilities and those experiencing temporary hardships. The subsidy for bulk users comes in the form of a base rate structure (roughly $40/mo) that systematically results in overcharging nearly a quarter of all users.

Organizations, community groups and businesses can sign on below to support the following recommendations.

We are recommending the Hamilton County Commissioners, as the rate-setting authority for the MSD, make the following changes to our sewer rate structure:

  1. Reduce base rate charges immediately;
  2. Eliminate the bulk rate discounts for large users that creates a disincentive to water conservation;
  3. Fund the Consent Decree with impervious surface charges and other stormwater-related fees;
  4. Implement financial incentives for stormwater abatement for all property owners; and
  5. Work to expand Customer Assistance programs for those in need.
See who else is endorsing:
Sarah Horton Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Democratic Socialists of American
Mary Aguilera Ohio River Guardians
Jeanne Nightingale Citizens for Rights of the Ohio River Watershed (CROW)
Jessica Wolf Carthage Civic League
Patrick Molloy Edwood East Community Association
Stacey Midge Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church
Peterson Mingo Christ Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church
Melissa Meyer CAIN - Churches Active In Northside
T. Duane Gorden Board of Directors, Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati
Beth Sullebarger Woman's City Club
Richard Asimus Cincinnati Indivisible Rapid Response Team
Marie Kocoshis League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area
Barbara Busch Working In Neighborhoods
Robert Park Sierra Club, Miami Group
Melissa English Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund
Rachael Belz Ohio Citizen Action
Jeniece Jones HOME

Will you endorse?

Reactions

  • Sarah Horton
    Metro Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Democratic Socialists of American endorsed 2021-06-09 15:37:37 -0400
  • Mary Aguilera
    Ohio River Guardians endorsed 2021-06-09 14:36:29 -0400
  • Jeanne Nightingale
    Citizens for Rights of the Ohio River Watershed (CROW) endorsed 2021-06-09 12:46:35 -0400
  • Jessica Wolf
    Carthage Civic League endorsed 2021-05-11 09:53:21 -0400
  • Patrick Molloy
    Edwood East Community Association endorsed 2021-04-27 10:42:07 -0400
    I represent about 120 households residing in Hamilton County.
  • Stacey Midge
    Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church endorsed 2021-04-16 15:03:44 -0400
  • Peterson Mingo
    Christ Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church endorsed via 2021-02-19 16:59:16 -0500
  • Melissa Meyer
    CAIN - Churches Active In Northside endorsed 2021-02-05 13:28:03 -0500
  • T. Duane Gorden
    Board of Directors, Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati endorsed via 2021-01-21 17:10:26 -0500
  • Beth Sullebarger
    Woman's City Club endorsed via 2021-01-21 17:10:01 -0500
  • Richard Asimus
    Cincinnati Indivisible Rapid Response Team endorsed via 2021-01-21 17:09:40 -0500
  • Marie Kocoshis
    League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area endorsed 2020-12-03 11:58:11 -0500
  • Barbara Busch
    Working In Neighborhoods endorsed 2020-10-27 13:51:07 -0400
  • Robert Park
    Sierra Club, Miami Group endorsed 2020-10-27 13:34:27 -0400
  • Melissa English
    Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund endorsed 2020-10-16 15:20:49 -0400
  • Rachael Belz
    Ohio Citizen Action endorsed 2020-10-16 15:06:04 -0400
  • Jeniece Jones
    HOME endorsed 2020-10-15 14:07:52 -0400
  • Alison Auciello
    published this page in Sewer Justice 2020-09-25 13:01:20 -0400