Sunday, January 1, 2012

COASTers issue legal challenge to City over Streetcar construction interfering with utilities

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."


  1. This is all about Cincinnati trying to pass along streetcar costs to everyone else. If the city wants their streetcar so bad they should pay for it themselves.

  2. They are paying for it. Their argument is that the sewers NEED to be upgraded. The EASIEST and CHEAPEST time to upgrade and repair them is going to be when they're already re-locating other utilities for the streetcar, which IS happening (Remember, COAST failed in two elections to stop it). Monzel and the county have the responsibility of footing that bill as they own the sewers.

    If they don't want to because Chris Monzel wants to sit up there and play politics and act like he's not helping the streetcar, that's fine. The damn streetcar is going to be build, the sewers won't be upgraded at the most convenient and cost effective time and in the future when the county WILL HAVE TO FOOT THAT BILL it will cost even more and be even harder now that the streetcar is there.

    Fiscal Conservatism at its finest.

  3. Gee, well I'm tired of MY tax dollars going toward maintaining roads connecting us to the suburbs which allow thousands of ungrateful misanthropes to drive to the regions job center (the city proper) each day. Maybe we should bring a lawsuit against the city and county to have those demolished... What do ya think?

  4. ^Have at it.

    In case you haven't noticed, the City proper hasn't added ANY new manufacturing facilities, but the 'burbs have added tons. All the new hospitals are going up in the 'burbs too. Cincinnati has added one new office tower in the last 10 years while the 'burbs have added dozens.

    The cars and roads you so hate are increasingly being used for city dwellers to get to their jobs in the successful suburbs. And for residents of Butler, Warren and Clermont counties to get to their jobs in Kenton, Campbell and Boone Counties, and vice versa.

    Cincinnati=proper has been reduced to "drive-by territory" in more ways than one. Can't imagine why you would want to cut off your only remaining lifeline, but if you want to live in a hole, go ahead.

  5. Ouch, I think the label "ingrate" is going way too far (I live in the suburbs). However, I agree that too many of my extra-city brethren willfully ignore the fact that we are huge public welfare recipients in the form of our roads, while they whine loudly about inner city transit projects. I admit this much though, which is why I am OK with the streetcar.

  6. Have at it huh? Last time I checked UC and the hospitals are still the largest single employers in the area. Or did you not get the memo from 10 years ago?

    BTW - If we are just "drive by territory" how does that make you a lifeline?

    @S.Sanders - Point taken. There is already enough vitriol from the other side, I probably shouldn't add to it...

  7. I encourage all the urban snobs to organize a petition campaign to advocate for their spending preferences. If you guys don't want highways and bridges, by all means work hard to stop them. But I doubt you'll get much support beyond the likes of Governor Candace Klein, Katy Croissant, Jake Meck, Korean resident Randy Simes, or vicious racist Jenny Kessler.

  8. COASTers can't argue the facts or rationalize that Monzel is just politicking. So they have to call streetcar supporters "urban snobs." It's pathetic that this organization that I used to once support has been downgraded to jokes about 9/11 on Twitter and name calling.

    The streetcar sucks. but it's coming and Monzel is just going to make Hamilton County spend more money in the future instead of taking care of the problem now.


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