360 Fireworks Party

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


by Michael Monks 
"I have some good news," said Covington City Manager Larry Klein as Tuesday night's city commission meeting was about to end. He then went on to announce that AFSCME, the union that represents Covington's dispatchers, public improvement employees, and clerical workers, had just approved its new contract. While the initial announcement at City Hall indicated unanimous approval from the union the vote turned out to be 41 - 16 in favor. The contract approval follows similar affirmative votes by unions representing police and firemen which were accepted unanimously by city commissioners Tuesday. The agreements with the three unions are expected to save Covington roughly $10 million according to Mayor Chuck Scheper. 
"I believe it is fair," Scheper said of the new contracts. "We now have a more stable base from which to grow the city. We still have some ground to make up but this is clearly a seminal moment." Scheper announced the agreements late last week during a press conference at City Hall and projected that the contracts and the elimination of the 911 emergency dispatch center (Kenton County will take over service for Covington) have erased $15 million or three-fourths of the city's projected budget deficit through 2017. 
The city commission will need to vote to accept AFSCME's contract at a later meeting.
  • BRENT SPENCE BRIDGE RESOLUTION                    Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution supporting changes to plan "I" of the proposed new Brent Spence Bridge that would eliminate vital exits and access to Downtown Covington. All commissioners and city administrators that spoke Tuesday night encouraged the people of Covington to attend one of next week's public meetings with transportation officials from Kentucky and Ohio (details at the link above)
  • NEW KIOSK FOR MAINSTRASSE                                  The Mainstrasse Village Association offered to the City a new kiosk for the plaza between the 5th Street parking lot and 6th Street that will help visitors find their way around the neighborhood and entertainment hub:
Click to enlarge
  • The new kiosk is a long time coming for the neighborhood and is the result of the efforts of Mainstrasse Village Association Executive Director Kim Blank and business owner Charles Killian. The 3-sided structure will have the equivalent of a 24"x36" mall map identifying each and every business on two sides. The third side will be a bulletin board (the city's legal department is working to draft rules for what can and cannot be pinned to the board) with a weatherproof section that will hold informational brochures. It will not be lit for nighttime viewing upon initial installation but there are hopes to install lighting in the future. Additionally, there are hopes that another kiosk will will be installed someday on the part of 6th Street east of Main Street. "Maybe once this is up and we have a sense of the costs involved it's something we can look at in the future," said Commissioner Sherry Carran. 
  • EQUIPMENT FOR DEVOU PARK GOLF COURSE                       More new equipment is coming to the Devou Park golf course, all paid for by revenue from the course itself. Mayor Scheper suggested that the city should promote the park and its course more often, saying that there are not many cities with a golf course that close to its urban core. 
  • CAROLINE UNDERPASS CLOSER TO RECONSTRUCTION                    Covington drivers know this underpass as an escape route when caught by a train in Latonia. Over the past several years the street has had serious problems with water damage. "During heavy rain events we do have some flood issues," said assistant city engineer Mike Yeager. In fact, the public improvements department cannot patch the potholes fast enough as water comes up from the bottom of the paving destroying each effort to fix it. The city commission unanimously approved an $18,500 bid from James W. Berling Engineering to provide design services and develop the construction documents needed to reconstruct the Caroline Street underpass and replace the combined sewer system. The city is sharing the costs with Sanitation District 1 with Covington paying 60% with community development block grant funds and 40% payable by SD1. 
  • HONORING MARIE BRAUN, ADVOCATE FOR THE DISABLED              Marie Braun was honored by a resolution at City Hall for her dedication to helping Covington's disabled community. Braun, who also serves on Covington Human Rights Commission, was recently profiled in a Lexington publication. The resolution detailed her upbringing as a child born with brain damage and later, quadriplegia. She was moved around various foster homes. Now 58, Braun earned her GED in 2003 and graduated from Gateway College with associate's degree. 
Marie Braun

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