Monroe hopes proposed opioid case settlement can help city

Monroe is hoping funds from a proposed settlement of a large lawsuit against opioid industry would help the city, even though it wasn’t part of the case.

The city council this week agreed to proposed settlement, which would determine how the money will be divided.

In his report, City Manager Bill Brock said the city is not a part of the lawsuit but all local governments would have the opportunity to access funds from a prospective settlement to cover expenses incurred by the opioid abatement efforts.

Brock said the main components of the MOU remain the same: 30 percent of the settlement funds would be distributed directly to local governments for costs related to opioid abatement efforts; 55 percent would be sent to a foundation governed by a board of local government leaders that would regularly vote to distribute the monies among 19 regions. Those regions would be drawn up based on factors including population, opioid overdoses and the number of opioids distributed.

The remaining 15 percent would be distributed to the Ohio Attorney General’s office to cover costs related to opioid abatement efforts.

Brock said both Gov. Mike DeWine and Attorney General David Yost have publicly urged local governments to agree to the MOU to ensure all local governments benefit from the settlement, not just the ones in the litigation.

The counsel representing Ohio’s local governments in the litigation have pointed out that if the state cannot unite and seek a settlement before the state of Ohio’s October trial date, the deadline will have passed for local governments to work together on this issue.

Automatic water increase on hold

Council also approved an emergency resolution to discontinue the automatic water rate increase effective Jan. 1, 2020, pending the results of a water rate study.

After a discussion at its Feb. 11 meeting, council requested the suspension of the annual automatic 3.2 percent increase that began following a 2014 water rate study. City staff is preparing a request for proposals to perform a water rate study.

Garver Road project contract awarded

Council approved a resolution to award a contract with J.W. Brennan Excavating for the Garver Road water main replacement project.

J.W. Brennan was the found to be the lowest and best bidder out of 13 companies submitting bids for the project. Their bid came in at $398,741, which was less than the engineer’s estimate of $466,000.

The project replaces an aging section of water main from Dennen Avenue to Reed Road along Garver Road. The main has experience several sever main breaks in the last few years which has cause substantial outages for our businesses on the east side of Monroe.

New police officers sworn-in

Three new police officers — Greg Hopkins, Monique Lockett and Greg Gattermeyer — were sworn in by city Law Director Phil Callahan, during the Jan. 28 council meeting.

Hopkins worked for three years as a Hamilton police officer. He is a graduate of Fairfield High School and holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati. He also attended the basic police officer training academy at Butler Tech.

Lockett is in the basic police officer training academy at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in Columbus. She most recently worked as a unit supervisor at the Hamilton County Juvenile Justice Center, and she is a graduate of Coral Gates High School in Florida, and hold a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s degree in public management from Sullivan University.

Gattermeyer is also at the basic training academy at the highway patrol’s academy in Columbus. He was most recently employed as a purchasing manager for CTL Aerospace in Cincinnati. A Hamilton High School graduate, he earned an associate’s degree in math and natural science from Miami University. Gattermeyer also served as a member of the Monroe police auxiliary since 2017.

While Gattermeyer and Lockett received their badges, they will not have their police powers until they complete their academy training.

About the Author