Recently the City of Cincinnati received a letter from the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners expressing concerns with MSD and its management of the Consent Decree program. It is important that the misinformation reported be addressed because of the potentially damaging impacts of such assertions on the prosperity of the Cincinnati community. In particular the City must now work to restore the confidence of bond holders in order to protect MSD's bond rating - a potentially devastating blow at a time when citizens desperately need the confidence of the bond market, economic developers and businesses that create jobs and sustain the local tax base.
We felt it was important to share the facts with you directly. Attached is a copy of the response the City has sent to the County addressing the misinformation. In summary, the facts are:
MSD has successfully met all Consent Decree milestones and is in compliance with program budgets.
The statement that MSD has overrun the program by $87 million is grossly inaccurate. The City has requested that the County provide the basis for its statement of an overrun so it can be reviewed and clarified.
The overall program remains on budget.
The Phase 1 program is forecasting to spend $1.09 billion through 2018 - this is actually less than the $1.14 billion WWIP conceptual. In fact MSD has realized substantial cost-savings within the program itself including more than $21.7 million saved on the Eastern & Delta Sewer Separation project bundle.
The County's Utility Oversight effort may be creating unnecessary misunderstandings.
The City is urging the Commissioners to return to the long-standing practice of the MSD Director providing regular reports directly to the Commissioners in order to stem the flow of misinformation and misunderstanding. For example, the Lick Run preliminary modeling data was taken completely out of context and used to generate unnecessary concerns about Consent Decree compliance.
The City must now work to restore the confidence of bond holders in order to protect MSD's bond rating.
The damage to MSD's credibility is a potentially devastating blow at a time when our citizens desperately need the confidence of the bond market, economic developers and businesses that create jobs and sustain the local tax base.