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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

City Council Round-Up: Deer Hunting Discussion Delayed, VA Homes Update

There were several key topics facing city officials this week slotted for discussion. Unfortunately, this week's City Council meeting saw most of those topics tabled or delayed for further review. Here's a rundown of what Council was willing to discuss this week:

Deer Hunting Ordinance

The bow hunting issue provoked another round of debate, and confusion, amongst council members this week, resulting in a tabling of the issue.

Three Fort Thomas residents attended the meeting to address council regarding a proposed amendment to an ordinance that allows bow hunting within city limits. The proposed amendment would expand the number of days in the bow hunting season, as well as make other increases to bow hunting allowances.

Two residents spoke out against the ordinance altogether, one renewing her call earlier this year for the city to investigate alternative means of deer population control, such as birth control or sterilization. One resident spoke in favor of the benefits of bow hunting in Fort Thomas.

Discussion of the issue sparked again when it came time for the first reading of the amendment to the ordinance. As Mayor Mary Brown called for a reading of the amendment, council member Lisa Kelly asked if there would be no more discussion of the issue before the amendment is read.

Council member Ken Bowman quickly agreed, moving for the issue to be tabled until council members have had more time to review the facts surrounding the issue.

Council member Tom Lampe objected to the motion, reminding Council that the drafting of an amendment was approved by vote during the last meeting. City Administrator Don Martin confirmed that this was his impression of Council's wishes. A review of the minutes from Sept. 3's council meeting further confirms this.

Nevertheless, Council went back and forth discussing whether or not more discussion and deliberation was necessary before an amendment should be read. Mr. Bowman led the charge, asking for hard data on whether or not any change to the current ordinance is even necessary.

Council member Eric Haas chimed in, explaining that he voted for the drafting of an amendment purely to show the KY Department of Fish and Wildlife that Fort Thomas is making a "good faith effort" to explore the full extent of hunting-based solutions.

The KY DFW will not approve any alternative methods of population control until it has ruled that Fort Thomas has exhausted hunting as a solution.

As for birth control, Ms. Kelly asked, "Even if we pass an amendment, do we know when they will finally allow us to explore birth control?" Council member Jay Fossett spoke out against the DFW having the final say: "I think we should have the right to run the show in our city."

Discussion eventually led to a vote on Mr. Bowman's motion to table the issue, which passed. Discussion will presumably continue at the next council meeting.

Waiting Period for Gun Purchases

Council intended to discuss a resolution encouraging the State Legislature to enact a three-day waiting period for the purchase of a gun.

Add that to the pile of issues tabled this week. Mr. Bowman, who initially intended on bringing the issue before Council, asked to delay discussion due to the absence of Council member Roger Peterman.

VA Homes

Mr. Martin reported this week that the Department of Veterans' Affairs' legal office in Washington, D.C. needs more information about the cost of removing asbestos and lead paint from the currently empty VA homes in Tower Park. Until a study is commissioned, DVA will not move forward with funding the rehabilitation of these homes.

The city is requesting funding from DVA for rehabilitation of the properties before they are sold to a developer.

The earliest a study can begin is October. "It's likely to take several months to determine the additional costs," Mr. Martin said.

Other Points of Note:

  • FTPD Chief Mike Daly reported that Sgt. Christopher Carpenter and Officers Michael Dietz and Douglas Bryant participated with the Kenton County SWAT Team in the 2013 Tactical Officers SWAT Competition. The team placed 2nd out of 13 teams participating, statewide.
  • The Department of Recreation is looking for volunteers for this year's Jack-O-Lantern Walk, which will take place Thursday, Oct. 24, from 7:00-9:00 PM. For information on how to volunteer, check out the Recreation Department's website.
  • Mr. Martin also reminded everyone of the upcoming Merchants & Music Festival, coming up Sept. 28th at Tower Park.

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