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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fort Thomas City Council Notes (6-1-15)

Fort Thomas City Council. FTM file. 
One of the first items that Mayor Eric Haas established that was in contrast to Mayor Mary Brown's tenure was implementing a monthly meeting instead of bi-monthly meetings. The exception being in June and September, when the proposed budget and property tax rate would be set, respectively.

The Finance Committee (John Muller, Lisa Kelly and Roger Peterman) met last week to discuss the proposed budget and that was discussed at length in front of council. FTM will devote more space to the city's finances in a series forthcoming, but there was an interesting exchange that may have some ramifications in future budget talks.

Councilman Adam Meier suggested council consider one slight change to the proposed budget.  Rather than passing a budget that is revenue positive with a $76,460 surplus, Meier suggested passing one that is revenue neutral.

He stated that he understood the purpose for running a surplus but felt that through prudent budgets and management in the past, the City is now in a position to pass a revenue neutral budget and use current reserves for any large unanticipated expenditures that may arise.

He also stated that passing the lower budget would allow a lower revenue baseline to determine the tax rate when the council comes to that discussion in a few months.

Peterman pointed out that the two are not entirely dependent on each other and can be treated separately. Meier agreed and pointed out that half of this budget will be based on next year's tax rate, and the budget under consideration assumed a 4% increase and a revenue neutral budget would not require the full 4% property tax increase to meet that revenue target.

FTM will devote more space to the city's finances in a series forthcoming, but here's what happened at the rest of the council meeting.

Citizen Communications
FTM detailed the ongoing talks between the residents near the Imperial Apartments and the city. You can read that article here. 

- Richard Peters inquired about the memorial tree program for Tower Park. He said that he purchased a tree and plaque and wondered why they had not been planted.

"We have to put everything out for bid and they just didn’t have the trees the city was looking for. We were trying to get the bigger trees and they just weren't available. Now they are going to probably wait until fall, which is a good time to plant them anyway," said Haas.

City Administrator's Report
VA HOMES - The agreement with the VA developer Bloomfield/Schon, was discussed. The city provided a draft copy of the “Preferred Developer Agreement” to Bloomfield/Schon for their review, but their attorney had not reviewed it yet. 

By a 5-0 vote, council authorized the mayor to execute a copy of the agreement so long as the Fort Thomas City Attorney is okay with the agreement.

CLOVER RIDGE REPAIR - A few months back FTM reported a water main break on Clover Ridge burst due to a defective pressure control valve at the water treatment facility, which  caused damage to the pavement on Clover Ridge.  The Northern Kentucky Water District said that the repairs should be completed by June 8.  

Residents are complaining that the original repair has created a rough patch and that drivers are swerving over the double yellow lines to avoid the patch. 

CROSSWALK AT HIGHLAND/GRAND REVIEW -  Chief District Engineer, Rob Hans, has asked his staff to investigate the intersection and crosswalks to determine if any measures can be implemented to increase safety of pedestrians crossing at this location. 

WATER MAIN REPLACEMENT - Work will began Monday, June to replace the water main on N. Fort Thomas Avenue between Rossford and Covert Run.   Both parking and traffic may be affected during periods of construction.  This work is taking place in advance of the Street Resurfacing program this summer. 

BID FOR STREET REPAIR - The bid for the street tax program was awarded to Len Riegler Blacktop. The total bid was $338,109.25.  The city engineer’s estimate was $351,875 or $13,766 under the estimate. 

BID FOR CHURCHILL DRIVE REBUILD - The bid for Churchill Drive was awarded to JPS Construction, in the amount of $378,975.25. The engineer’s estimate of $366,260 or $12,715 over the estimate. 

FIRST READINGS OF ORDINANCES - As mentioned, there were first readings of the amended budget from last year and the 2015-2016 estimated budget. Those will be detailed further on FTM. 

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