A new feature of Fort Thomas Matters going forward will be a summary of the newsworthy items from the Fort Thomas City Council meetings. I have lived in Ft. Thomas for 26 years and, prior to Monday February 13, had never attended a council meeting, all of which are open to the public and quite informative on the different issues facing Ft. Thomas government and residents. The full minutes are posted on the city website (http://www.ftthomas.org/Council.html) so only a few of the more noteworthy items will be summarized below:
1) Each session begins with an opportunity for residents to address the Council. Sue Morrow, whose story was written on this site a few days ago, was the only resident choosing to do so.
2) The public works committee, headed by Councilman Eric Haas, reported that the city has purchased property on which they intend to build a storage shed for offseason storage of road salt. Currently, the city has excess salt remaining from the mild 2011-2012 winter but in many years, the city has to purchase additional salt mid-winter at substantially inflated costs. The storage shed will allow the city to purchase salt in the offseason at a greatly reduced cost and store it for the coming snowy months.
3) Don Martin, City Administrative Officer, provided a written report prior to the Council meeting. His report is not actionable items but items of note that occurred in the time since the last Council meeting and items that warrant being brought to Council’s attention. Contained therein were the following:
a. Drainage issues on Grant Street (Sue Morrow, resident, as previously discussed)
b. A resident had expressed concern regarding the condition of the roads on Churchill Drive.
c. New Garden Restaurant opened and Mio’s will be opening soon
d. Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancement Funds federal grant program had been eliminated. Funds were considering being used for sidewalk on N. Ft. Thomas Ave.
e. 911 system failure on Tuesday February 7th, made the system inaccessible for two hours.
f. Precious Metals/Use Property Ordinance- County Attorney Steve Franzen is working on an ordinance which would address the growing problem of theft of personal property in order to sell it at a pawnshop. This would be a countywide ordinance not requiring approval of the cities but Martin and city attorney Jann Seidenfaden have the opportunity to review and provide feedback from the city.
4) Mio’s has applied for a liquor license and the Council did the first reading of the application.
5) The City voted to approve a Resolution written in support of the Ft. Thomas Post Office. For those who may not yet know, the United States Postal Service is considering closing many branches across the country and centralizing their service. The Ft. Thomas Post Office is one of those under consideration for closure, leaving the Newport branch as the closest option. The Council adopted a Resolution to support the Post Office and keep it open.
6) A great deal of discussion centered on a proposal, originally presented at the meeting by Martin, to conduct a survey of the deer population within city limits. A similar survey was performed in 2010, finding 205 deer, and again in 2011, finding 132 deer. The cost of the survey is approximately $8200, although it varies based upon numerous factors. '
In 2011, the city found a city in Indiana willing to do the same survey and was able to negotiate the cost down to $6700. The discussion centered on the reliability of the survey, the cost involved, and the fact that no other city was willing to participate this year.
Councilwoman Lisa Kelly recommended completing the survey again in 2012 to have three years worth of results and determine if there are any trends. Councilwoman Jill Steller was against this, citing the cost as a primary concern. Councilmen Rob Peterman and Eric Haas, after much discussion, agreed with Kelly and when put to a vote, the measure passed with urging to Martin to negotiate cost.
The next meeting will be held on March 5 at 7:00 pm at the city building.
via Don Martin:
I read your post this morning. I wanted to clarify that the city did not purchase property on which to locate a salt storage facility. The facility, if built (still lots of steps to go through) would be built on property already owned by the city. Additionally, the city would pay for the facility through a substantial savings in the current budget year (a lot less overtime spent for snow removal due to mild winter)