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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fort Thomas City Council Meeting Notes (7-20-15)

Chief Mike Daly and Det. Brad Adams at a past council meeting. Daly said that Adams would be retiring on August 1.  FTM file.
Council met Monday night to wrap up votes on a few ordinances and read some for the record for the first time.

- The ordinance pertaining to the donation of vacation time was voted on. Lt. Kilgore was the inspiration for this ordinance as he continues to fight cancer. FTM previously detailed why this ordinance was instituted here. From that article:

"The ordinance, which seeks to allow a full-time employee of the city to donate her/his vacation time to another full-time employee of the city, was originally requested by Kilgore’s co-workers.  Councilman Ken Bowman supports the ordinance, saying, “I was thrilled to see the demand from Casey’s coworkers and friends to find a way to help him and his family at this time”.  He went on to say he “was even more thrilled when we found a way to do the right thing and make the changes necessary to allow for this great idea to become a reality.”"

This measure passed unanimously, 5-0. Councilman Roger Peterman was absent.

- The salary ordinance for non-union employees and general services laborers part of AFSCME Local #286.

Part of the agreement contained the following provisions:
- A 2% increase in base pay for fiscal year 15/16 and 16/17.
- A provision allowing employees who will work 12 straight hours to have the option to use vacation time during their next shift without giving 24 hours notice.
- Having vacation leave on their birthdays.
- Adding step-parents to bereavement leave.
- Amending the CDL to clarify suspension of licenses. If an employees has a CDL suspended for medical reasons, the employees would be given work that didn't require a CDL.

This measure passed unanimously, 5-0. 

- The ordinances giving Duke Energy the contracts for selling natural gas and energy, while giving the city the ability to modify the franchise fee, up to 5% on the gross receipts of Duke energy usage. Currently that rate is .03%. An unscientific study conducted by the city found that the average franchise fee for surrounding cities is around 3%.

 The ordinance had previously been discussed at committee in March and had went out to bid last month. Duke was the only bidder.

This measure will be voted on next month. 

Police Report
- Police Chief Mike Daly reported that Det. Ofc. Brad Adams would be retiring on August 1. "I've known Brad since I was in high school. We've had a long, good relationship. He will be missed," said Chief Daly.

Chief Daly said that once Adams retires, the department will need to hire two new officers and they have been advertising for those positions."

- Perhaps the best news that came from the meeting was the update that Chief Daly gave on Lt. Casey Kilgore. You can read what Lt. Kilgore is battling here.

"Casey is doing great. Fantastic. He continues to see positive results," said Daly.

Lt. Casey Kilgore at the council meeting where he was named Lieutenant. Here with wife Lauren and kids, James and Kate. 
- Det. Adam Noe and Officers Will Hunt and Doug Hoffman presented and facilitated another CSI: camp in Fort Thomas. "We had 26 kids throughout the week, which is the most we’ve ever had," said Daly.

- Daly also said that there were no major issues during the July 4 celebration and that they are in the planning stage for Merchants and Music, featuring headliner Bret Michael.

- Sentiguard was discussed for the first time at council. "Dayton has seen some success since they have implemented the app. We don't want people to think they are bothering us," said Daly. "Any call is a good call."

City Administrator Report
- City Administrative Officer, Don Martin, reported that Bloomfied/Schon, the developer selected by the City to rehabilitate the VA homes are in the stages of trying to define how much money they are going to need to complete the project.

"Bloomfield/Schon and the VA have yet to meet, but that should happen as early as next week," said Martin. "They need to meet to discuss items like the asbestos abatement. There is likely no wiggle room there, but the discussions need to happen to have items identified in black and white."

The city entered into an exclusive agreement with the developer one month ago and gives Bloomfield/Schon one year to find the funds to begin the project.

New Business
- Bids were received for a pier wall on Covert Place. Three bids were received and SP Drilling Services was awarded the bid at $115,436.

Residents on the street had inquired about a "rustic looking" guardrail that would sit in front of the wall. The upgraded guardrail would be an up-charge of $9,864.25. "This would not be paid by the tax payers," said Martin. "The residents there would have to pay for the overage and we have appointed a point person that will communicate how the residents wish to proceed."

There are 19 lots on the street and the new rail would cost each household around $520 each.

- An easement was discussed to upgrade the water tower from Bluegrass Avenue to the side of parking lot to the pump station. The water company needs to upgrade electronics on the tower and needs the easement to access the tower. "We want to be neighborly, especially because we use about 25 of their parking spaces at no charge," said Martin.

City Councilman, Adam Meier suggested to council that they reconsider sign ordinance, because of the Supreme Court decision in Reed vs. the Town of Gilbert. 

In essence, the ruling said that cities cannot regulate signs differently based on content. For example, our political sign ordinance is now likely unconstitutional under the ruling.

Right now the "political signs ordinance" states that signs can only be out 60 days prior to election. Now the city will likely have to change the verbiage to say "event signs" can only be out 60 days prior to event.

The Planning Commission will discuss the changes and make a recommendation to council.

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