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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fort Thomas City Council Moves Forward with Street Repair Program, Paves Way to Replace Program (5-18-15)

Fort Thomas City Council. FTM file. 

The biggest bit of news that came out of Monday's council meeting was that the city has selected a developer for the VA homes through a Request For Qualifications process. Aside from that, there was a lot of business on the agenda, with council approving three ordinances.

Two were to create and solicit bids for gas and electric franchises. The other was to proceed with the 2015 Street Resurfacing Program.

Duke Energy currently pays the city of Fort Thomas .03% for using the public right of way in the every day maintenance of public utilities. Duke, in turn, charges that same .03% for their usage for gas and electric to each Fort Thomas resident.

In an "unscientific study" conducted by Fort Thomas, the city found that most cities in Fort Thomas charge Duke energy fees of around 3%. These ordinances, which only come up for renewal once a decade, gives the city the authority to change the franchise fee up to 5% at their discretion.

The discussions have come about in conjunction with the street repair program. Conceivably, if the city were to raise the franchise fee from .03% to 1.25%, enough money would be raised in franchise fees to offset the cost that residents pay to repair the street.

“Thinking outside the box might be beneficial for the city to discuss the possibility of implementing a larger franchise fee, then eliminating the street resurfacing assessment.  On the surface, this might have merit," said Don Martin, City Administrator, in a previous FTM article.

The ordinances comply with recommendations from the Public Works Committee (Bowman, Bezold, Muller) and City Engineer, Frank Twehues. The streets slated for resurfacing are Churchill Drive, Arlington Place, Burnet Ridge from Lester Lane to its terminus, East Southgate Avenue and North Fort Thomas Avenue between Bellaire Place and Covert Run Pike.

The votes on both Duke Energy franchise agreements as well as the ordinance to move forward with the 2015 Street Repair Program passed 4-0. 

Two members of council were absent, Adam Meier and Jeff Bezold. Meier and his wife Laura, welcomed a new son, Hollis, to their family early Monday morning.

Fire and Police Reports:

Fire Chief Mark Bailey and Police Lieutenant Rich Whitford gave their reports.

Bailey commended the city for EMS week. The theme this year was EMS Strong. Bailey also said a grant gave the department a new treadmill downstairs for the 18 fire fighters and paramedics to use. He also noted the department is working with the Campbell County Detention Center to test a third of the fire hydrants as done on an annual basis.

Whitford commended an officer for getting out of the academy after 34 weeks. The department will also hold its 9th Crime Scene Investigation camp on July 13.

City Administration Report:

City Administrator Don Martin addressed the Covert Place Pier Wall situation. He said CT Engineers finalized bidding on it. The project will require 29 piers drilled 30 feet deep and 53 drilled 20 feet deep. The engineer said the project will cost near $200,000.

The council had a brief discussion about piping the creek as opposed to installing the wall. But that option could be as much as $500,000 because of the permits needed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The project is expected to be advertised in June, contract awarded in July and the work should be completed in August and September.

Martin commended the city for keeping a solid reserve balance in the Municipal Road Aid Fund. He said it seems like every two to five years, the City has to tackle a slipping roadway by installing piers.

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