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The Covington City Commission met Tuesday night for the final time in 2011. The next meeting is set for January 3. Here is a recap of what happened during the meeting:
POLICE CHIEF LEE RUSSO RETAINED BY 3-2 VOTE
|Chief Russo sat in his usual spot in the back of the|
chamber and did not speak before the vote
In the original 5-year contract, Russo had a 3-month severance clause, Commissioner Steve Casper said.
$155,000 IN GRANTS AWARDED TO COVINGTON BY DUKE ENERGY FOUNDATION
|$35,000 check awarded to Center for Great|
- $100,000 will go towards bioLOGIC's efforts at developing a lie sciences accelerator on the Pike Street corridor. These funds will hire a program manager and assist with the program's buildout.
- $35,000 to the Center for Great Neighborhoods as they help local developers build the Pike Star project at 108 - 112 Pike Street. This project includes retail space and residences.
- $20,000 will go toward rent subsidies for new businesses to locate at Short Pike Street and Madison Avenue.
ANIMAL CONTROL SERVICES NOW UNDER COUNTY CONTROL
The commission unanimously approved moving animal control work to county control. The City was left with just one animal control officer following budget cuts during the summer. That officer will be reassigned to another City job. "This will be the first of many steps to cut the costs of local government," said Commissioner Steve Frank.
COVINGTON STUDENTS THANKED & PRESENTS FUND WAS RESTORED
Holmes Middle School students were thanked for decorating the lobby outside commission chambers at City Hall. Mayor Scheper says that when the new official City lapel pins arrive, that the kids will each get one. Additionally, it was acknowledged that the community did come through to restore funds that were lost by a former corporare donor to John G. Carlisle School for Christmas gifts. Covington Rotary Club, attorney Bob Sanders and the Covington Fire Department were all instrumental in making sure the money was found (more than $3,000 was needed when the corporate donor could not provide this year).
12 NEW FIREFIGHTERS TAKE OATH OF OFFICE
Covington has twelve fresh faces on the fire staff, filling roles left empty by early retirements following the budget cuts last summer. "Every one of these men is dedicated and professional," said Assistant Chief Alan Terry. "They will exhibit the heroism and courage you would expect."
|Mayor Scheper congratulates the new firemen|
PARKING ENFORCEMENT RAKES IN CASH
In a presentation on Covington's public parking situation, chief engineer Tom Logan said the City has collected $245,827 in parking violations. Also, since the new equipment has been installed, the garage at RiverCenter is bringing in more cash than ever on a daily basis. A video was shown of a possibly-intoxicated driver crashing through the gate but because there are new cameras, the driver was tracked down and paid the $648 to replace it. Quick stats: Covington owns three parking garages (RiverCenter, City Center, and Midtown), 18 surface lots, 409 metered locations and 379 non-metered parking spaces accounting for 54% of parking availability in the urban core.
FLOOD PROTECTION SYSTEM CELEBRATED
Tom Logan also offered a presentation on the work done by his department in erecting the flood protection gate on Highway Avenue. It protects $200 million worth of property, including the IRS building and prevents all those residents and businesses from having to buy flood insurance. The city workers put up the wall in three and a half hours, beating the time provided by the Army Corps of Engineers and setting a new record. If Covington is threatened by a major flood, five of these gates would be erected all over town by teams of six to ten people simultaneously. "This really shows the skill level of our city employees and instills confidence from our businesses," said City Manager Larry Klein.
CITY WILL SUPPORT LINDEN GROVE CEMETERY'S PLANS FOR NEW GRAVES
Linden Grove Cemetery board chairman Pete Nerone told the commission that Linden Grove Cemetery would need $3 million to become a viable commercial entity again. Phase one would cost roughly $460,000 and would move the entrance to 15th Street at Lee Street and would also restore the pond which may help channel drainage and regain land that would open up sites for 2400 new graves. The cemetery has already hired a consultant and has started its grant application process. Nerone mentioned that donors have been slow to get on board because the endeavor is not a non-profit, but a commercial entity. "It's an asset to our City and a major part of the Linden Gateway small area study," said Commissioner Sherry Carran. "It's greenspace without being a public park and the historic component attracts visitors from all over."
-The Commission will meet again on January 3 after voting to approve the meeting dates of its legislative and caucus meetings for 2012.
-Salary was established for Devou Park rangers not represented by a union.
-A bid of $26,400 was accepted from CDS Associates for professional services at the Devou Park Clubhouse. It will be paid through Devou Park Master Plan Funds.
-Commissioner Sherry Carran was reappointed to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments.
-Founding members of Devou Park's advisory committee, John Volz and Ben Vastine, resigned from the board. They were thanked for their many years of service and each has a nature trail named for him. Michelle Halloran and Greg Engelman were appointed to the positions.
-Drew Board was appointed to the Urban Forestry board.
-Police Officer Josh Craig was approved for promotion to Patrol Officer Grade IV and was given a raise of 11%.
-Mayor Chuck Scheper acknowledged that December 23 is the anniversary of his bone marrow transplant that saved his life from cancer and that he always looks at this time of year as one of renewal and rebirth. "2012 is going to be an exciting, important year for the City, he said. "Good strategy, good plans, and action and we'll make this an exciting place to live."
|Mayor Scheper dons Santa hat to celebrate Duke|
Energy's grants to Covington
|City Commission & City Administration holiday photo|