State launches special audit of Cincinnati's sewer district

State launches special audit of Cincinnati's sewer district

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19/AP) - The Ohio State Auditor is launching a special audit of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati.

Hamilton County and Cincinnati officials requested the audit in light of concerns regarding poor management, lack of oversight and skyrocketing project costs.

A report published by the Cincinnati Enquirer Wednesday claims the sewer district spent hundreds of millions of public dollars with little or no oversight at a time when residents' sewer rates have risen steadily.

"I've had concerns about the oversight of MSD and instructed audit staff to expand our regular financial audits in recent years," State Auditor Yost said.  "It is obviously time to take a deeper dive."

Reporters found the Metropolitan Sewer District spent approximately $680 million in the decade following a November 2007 memo from a former city manager that the newspaper says eliminated a checks and balances system.

The newspaper reports that the change gave the district and its former director, Tony Parrott, nearly total control over decisions related to a $3 billion, court-ordered overhaul of Hamilton County's sewers.

Parrott says the purchasing process had sufficient safeguards and was necessary to keep projects moving along quickly to avoid missing court-ordered deadlines.

The time-frame and scope of the state's audit has not been revealed.

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