CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Hamilton County judge has temporarily halted a water rate increase scheduled to start Saturday for Cincinnati Water Works customers in Hamilton County's townships.
Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman issued the temporary restraining order Thursday and advised the county and the city to negotiate a new contract.
The judge will decide Sept. 12 if his temporary order becomes permanent.
In June, Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance hiking rates by 18 percent in the county's townships.
Those customers already pay a 1.25 percent multiplier for city water, which makes their water bills 25 percent higher than city residents.
The increase would have spiked county township residents' annual bill for a typical household of four to $573 from $486.
That calculation is based on a Water Works fact sheet that includes typical water usage.
Greater Cincinnati Water Works customers in Hamilton County as well those in parts of Butler, Clermont and Warren counties pay a surcharge called a multiplier to cover costs to deliver water outside the city.
The city offered to lock in a 1.25 percent multiplier for 30 years for all Greater Cincinnati Water Works customers outside the city back in 2004.
Some municipalities took that offer.
Hamilton County officials, who represent the townships on water matters, did not.
Now, the contract with townships between the city and the county that froze water rate since 1987 expires Friday.
The lower rate was not offered to the townships when negotiations started last year.
The contract was extended twice, most recently in June.