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MSD Board To Discuss Public Comment Process Wednesday

The Metropolitan Sewer District’s Board of Directors will meet Wednesday to discuss a proposed amendment to the rules for addressing the body at public meetings.

The changes would allow up to five people three minutes each to speak, if they sign up at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts.  Currently, applications to comment must go through executive director Bud Schardein a week before the meeting.

Speakers would also be prohibited from discussing personnel matters or personal complaints.

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Local News

MSD Proposes New Public Comment Process for Board Meetings

Metropolitan Sewer District Board Chair Arnold Celentano has proposed a new process for public comments at MSD Meetings. WFPL’s Dalton Main reports.

The process has been submitted to a committee, which will send a recommendation to the full board for approval.

The proposed process would allow up to five people three minutes each to speak, if they sign up at least 15 minutes before the meeting.

But executive director Bud Schardein says public comments would still come with some restrictions.

“It’s not appropriate for someone to get up at a public meeting and talk about a personnel issue or a point of litigation, something that could be in court or could a affect a person’s employment record that sort of thing,” Schardein says “but they’re certainly free to talk about MSD’s policies and procedures and any of the projects we’re conducting.”

The proposal comes after a recent meeting included public outbursts and criticism of the board’s public speaking process.

“Several people, not many,” he says “complained that they thought the process of speaking at an MSD meeting as a citizen was, I think one of the words used was cumbersome, when in fact in the nine years I’ve been executive director we’ve only had 6 individual requests to speak.”

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Local News

MSD Approves Rate Increase for Fifth Straight Year

For the fifth consecutive year, the Metropolitan Sewer District has decided to increase rates for Louisville customers.

The MSD board of directors argued the rate increase was prompted by about $850 million in improvements needed to comply with the Clean Water Act.

Executive director Bud Schardein says the rate increases will continue but has told other news sources he expects the percentages to decrease.

The rate increase will mean an average of $2.15 more per bill for customers, who will have the chance to voice their opinions during a 60-day public comment period, but some couldn’t wait.  Residents who attended the meeting Monday morning tried to voice their complaints, but were not allowed to speak.

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Local News Next Louisville

MSD Board to Consider Rate Increase Today

The board of directors of the Metro Sewer District will vote today on a proposed rate increase.

The increase of 6.5 percent would raise rates a little more than two dollars a month for the average customer. Because the increase is under seven percent, it would not need Metro Council approval if it passes the MSD board. There will, however, be a public comment period between the board’s vote and the time the rate increases in July.

MSD officials say the higher rates are necessary for the district to make system improvements and be in line with the Clean Water Act.

This would be the latest in a series of annual rate increases. The last two were also 6.5 percent.

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Local News

MSD Still Calculating Cost of Running Pumps

The Ohio River has been higher than average since February, and the Metropolitan Sewer District is starting to pay the price for holding the water back.

But Executive Director Bud Schardein says the prevention of flooding has been worth the extra labor and energy costs. “It’s all been what I consider a success,” he says “but it comes at a price, we don’t have energy or fuel costs calculated yet, it’s too soon for that, but we’re running an approximate total on personnel hours and we can dedicate probably 300,000 or 350,000 over regular hours.”

Schardein says the cost could have been much higher had some of the pumps failed.  While not necessarily a regularly used utility, he says the flood protection system’s dependability is extremely important.

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Local News

Flood Protection System Proving Effective

Despite this being the wettest April on record, with 13.6 inches of rain and counting, MSD Director Bud Schardein says Louisville’s flood protection system is working as designed.

The agency predicts that everything outside the flood plane will remain unaffected by the rising waters since all 16 flood pumping plants remain fully operational.

“I believe since the system was built” says Schardein, “that’s the first time we could say that every pumping unit in all 16 of those pumping plants is working right now.”

After 3 inches of rain last night, he says it was a close call this morning, but with today’s slight break in the rain, officials say the pumping stations will be able to catch up and the drainage channels will recede.

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Here and Now Local News

Here and Now Wednesday: Rain and Floods, the Obama Birth Certificate, West Louisville Neighborhoods

Here’s what we have planned for today at 1pm: The White House has released the long form version of President Obama’s birth certificate, showing that Barack Hussein Obama II was born at 7:24 pm on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital, within the city limits of Honolulu. Speaking today, the President said he hopes this will settle the issue for most Americans, adding that we do not have time for “this kind of silliness.” We speak with Rick Klein, senior Washington editor for ABC World News, and host of the ABC News political webcast “Top Line.”

MSD Executive Director Bud Schardein gives us an update on the city’s continuing battle with the rising Ohio River, and we’ll ask him how prepared the city is for a really big flood.

The Louisville Metropolitan Housing Coalition is hosting a summit tomorrow to talk about two problems plaguing the city: falling housing values, and the lack of affordable housing. It’s a problem citywide, but it’s most stark in West Louisville, where census data shows housing in parts of the California and Portland neighborhoods is 27% vacant. We’ll discuss the problem and look for solutions.

And here’s a sure sign of spring in the eastern US – spring leeks, also known as ramps.  They grow wild and foodies love them — love them so much they are in danger of being over harvested. Chef Kathy Gunst visits a place in northern New England that is bursting with ramps.

WFPL News Here and Now begins at 1pm.

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Local News

River Expected To Crest At 33 Feet

The National Weather Service has predicted that the Ohio River will crest at 33 feet by Tuesday afternoon, that’s ten feet above flood stage.

Metropolitan Sewer District Executive Director Bud Schardein says the agency is working nonstop to ensure that the city is prepared.

“Staff has been working those stations 24 hours a day, they’ll continue to do so as the river rises, as of our briefing this morning the river was at 29.8 feet on the upper gauge,” he says “so you can see that we’re about 7 feet above flood and we haven’t been at normal pool since the early part of February.”

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Here and Now Local News

WFPL News: Today on Here and Now

Here’s what we have planned for Here and Now at 1pm: it’s turned out to be a pretty nice day, but there’s more rain on the way and the water is rising, flooding the riverfront and jeopardizing Waterfront Wednesday and some Derby events. MSD held a news conference a couple hours ago. We’ll get an update.

With the final week of the Indiana General Assembly, the possibility of a 6% tuition increase at the University of Louisville, and a hearing into the allegations surrounding councilwoman Judy Green… we thought we should get a look ahead from our news team, so we’ll chat with Political Editor Phillip M. Bailey and News Director Gabe Bullard.

Also this hour, we’ll remember the work of photographer Chris Hondros, who was killed in Libya last week. And we’ll talk to a linguist from Yale who is taking a census of American dialects. The result is a map of how English varies with geography, ethnicity and across time.

Tuesday sneak peek: Author Steven Levy will be in Louisville tomorrow to talk about his new book “In the Plex.” He’ll drop by for an extended interview on Tuesday.

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Local News

MSD Prepares For More Rain, Flooding

Metropolitan Sewer District Director Bud Schardein says the agency is doing everything it can to prepare for more flooding along the Ohio River and elsewhere.

The National Weather Service has predicted 3 to 5 inches of rain for the area this weekend and issued a Flash Flood Watch through Saturday evening.

“Number one concern is the rain, inland areas, low-lying areas, the caution to people who have had flooding before who might live in flood prone areas, be vigilant, we’ll be vigilant,” says Schardein “we run reconnaissance all night long through those neighborhoods, I just want you to know we’re prepared.”