COAST's attorneys have issued a challenge under the Ohio Taxpayer Statute to the City's illegal and irresponsible plan to build Streetcar improvements ON TOP of sewers owned by the Hamilton County Commissioners.
The Cincinnati Business Courier covers the story here.
Ohio has a taxpayer statute that applies to cities. The statute empowers a taxpayer, in the name of the city, to bring a law suit challenging activities by the city that is illegal or impermissible under applicable law, which could be the Ohio Constitution, State Law, Federal law, or, here, an agreement with the County when the City took over MSD operations and transferred the system's assets to the County, and principles of common law.
A prerequisite to the taxpayer attaining standing is that he must first issue a warning letter to the City Solicitor. The City's top lawyer, then, having been notified of the illegal conduct, must "take a pass" on the issue and thereby empower the taxpayer to bring the suit in the name of the City.
COASTers previously have used this legal tool to stop illegal spending on the Film Commission and to stop Council member Laure Quinlivan from using tax dollars to fund her campaign for Cincinnati City Council.
"The taxpayer statute is a powerful tool to stop illegal spending and other activity by cities in Ohio," said COAST general counsel Chris Finney. "When the City's attorney has been fully informed of the illegal conduct and still refuses to intervene to stop it, the taxpayer is empowered to step in. The legislature was wise to enact this tool to stop out-of-control elected officials and bureaucrats."