by PAT LaFLEUR
City Reporter, Fort Thomas Matters
City Reporter, Fort Thomas Matters
This week's City Council meeting saw a number of issues brought before council, including the contentious proposed expansion to the city's bow hunting ordinance. Here's the round-up:
Bow Hunting Ordinance
Council heard the second reading of an expansion of the city's ordinance allowing for bow hunting within city limits. The new ordinance adds 93 days to the current hunting season and allows residents to combine adjacent properties into 3-acre hunting zones. The previous ordinance stated that only 3-acre plots were eligible for hunting.
Council was split on the decision, leading Mayor Mary Brown to cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the new ordinance.
Council members Lampe, Peterman, and Haas voted in favor of the ordinance, while Council members Kelly, Bowman, and Fossett voted against.
While there was little discussion of the issue among council members at this stage, several impassioned residents addressed council, almost equally split for and against the new ordinance.
Matt Grosser of Ohio Ave. supports the expansion, emphasizing archery as "a relatively safe form of hunting," and sees the deer population as a greater threat to the Fort Thomas community.
Other community members disagreed. Mike McGraw of Forest Ave. said, "I think the current program is doing exactly what it should be doing," and he worries that the new ordinance could eliminate the deer population altogether. Council member Ken Bowman has expressed similar concerns in previous meetings over adding 93 days to Fort Thomas's hunting season.
As far as the numbers go, it's unclear if the first bow hunting program was effective. According to the deer census conducted by the city earlier this year, the deer population has decreased by over half since the first hunting ordinance was passed, but the number of auto accidents involving deer has increased since 2010.
Other residents expressed concern over safety and boundaries, especially in wooded areas where most hunting occurs. Bev Erschell of Shaw Ln. explained, "We know they hunt [in the woods] below us, and there's no way to know where one property starts and another ends."
Council member Lisa Kelly expressed a similar concern during the last council meeting, relaying the story of a resident who reportedly found an arrow in the ground under her kitchen window.
City Administrator Don Martin explained to NKY.com, however, that the only official report to the city or FTPD of an arrow in a resident's yard was filed back in 2007, and he urges residents to report to the city when this occurs.
Upon hearing the decision of council, several disappointed residents left the meeting.
The new bow hunting season in Fort Thomas, per the new ordinance, is now Sept. 7 until Jan. 20, in line with Kentucky's deer hunting season. The earliest the new ordinance can go into effect is Oct. 31.
Fire Department Grant
FTFD Chief Mark Bailey reported that the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security has awarded the department a $7000 grant for gas monitoring and calibration equipment. Chief Bailey nodded to Captain Greg Schultz as the engine behind securing the grant.
Chief Bailey also announced an upcoming collaboration with the Campbell County Detention Center, working to repaint the approximately 500 fire hydrants throughout the city.
Upcoming City Projects
City Administrator Martin briefed council on a few upcoming projects/issues:
- Mayor Brown has appointed Eric Haas to serve as the city's representative on the Midway There initiative to rehabilitate the Staples Building in Tower Park into a local business hub.
- The city will partner with the Highlands Athletic Boosters, providing $30,000 for a new softball complex at Winkler Field. The city will contribute construction labor and materials for new dugouts, restrooms, and concessions, and HAB will repay the loan over the next five years. Martin called the partnership a "win-win."