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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fort Thomas City Council Roundup 11/16/15

By: Amanda Dibiaso

FTM file. 
The Fort Thomas City Council held their monthly meeting Monday, November 16. Council member Jeff Bezold was absent. Here’s your round up:

Traffic on Trinity Place/St. Nicholas Place:

Fort Thomas resident Amanda Bricking, representing several Trinity Place residents who attended the meeting, asked if results were in from the speed survey the police conducted on her street.

Bricking said the speed survey was requested because of cars cutting through Trinity Place/St. Nicholas Place to avoid the intersection at Highland Avenue and North and South Fort Thomas Avenues before and after school.

Lt. Casey Kilgore reported that the survey was conducted Nov. 2-10 and included 1,748 cars. Of those, five were going a mile or two above the 25 mph speed limit.

Mayor Eric Haas said it seems that speed is not a problem, but it is a safety issue having so many cars cut through such a small residential street.

He requested that the police have an officer park in the area during peak times to discourage people cutting through.

Councilman Ken Bowman brought up an issue with the 25 mph speed limit on small streets like Trinity Place.

“25 is way too fast,” Bowman said. “I don’t know why we don’t have a conversation about that.”

Bowman has brought up the issue before, citing the excessive speed on side streets at a October 2014 meeting.  The City Administrative Officer, Don Martin, said during that meeting that with the next budget cycle council can budget for an engineering study to be done to determine whether the speed limits should change. It's not clear if that was indeed included in the 2015-2016 budget.

During that meeting, former Mayor Mary Brown disagreed with Bowman, stating that "Children shouldn't be playing on the streets. That's a parent issue."

Deer issue in the city:

Madonna Place resident Mary Ann Sarakatsannis-Jenkins addressed the council with her concerns about the deer issue in the city, stating she has three bucks and 15 does frequenting her back yard.

Jenkins said the deer are eating plants, damaging property, posing health risks and have even killed animals, including a neighbor’s dog.

She requested that the city re-visit the deer issue, and asked if it was possible for them to require hunters to kill a doe before they can kill a buck.

Councilman Roger Peterman said he doesn’t think the city can regulate that and that it would be something the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife regulates.

Councilman Bowman brought up a deer sterilization program Cincinnati is doing and requested they look more into that for Fort Thomas.

Fire Department Report:

Captain Steve Lumpp presented the Fire Department’s monthly report, noting that during the month of October, two heart attack victim’s lives were saved thanks to residents acting quickly and performing CPR until emergency responders got to the scene.

Lumpp also told council that throughout the month, which was Fire Prevention Month, the department reached 1,270 people through its various educational programs.

Police Department Report:

Lt. Casey Kilgore presented the police department’s monthly report, noting that during October the police held several proactive community presentations with groups like the boy scouts, schools and daycares.

City Administrator Report:

City Administrator Ron Dill reported that the city’s street resurfacing program is nearly complete, with just the final inspection taking place this week.

Dill also informed council that the Northern Kentucky Water District is getting ready to take down the water tower behind the city building and start building the replacement tower.

Dill reported that city staff is still working with the VA homes developer and the VA to begin the abatement process so the project can move forward.

During his report, Dill commended Highlands Middle School teacher Rick Rafferty, and his students and their parents, who recently completed a Prepare Affair volunteer project to fix up the trail in Highland Park.

NKY Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan:

Council authorized Haas to enter into the Northern Kentucky Area Development District’s (NKADD) NKY Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Dill said the plan, which includes all of NKADD’s jurisdictions in the area and started in 2007, but has to be updated every 5 years.

The plan, funded by FEMA, is an attempt to take a regional, collaborative approach to mitigating losses from disasters.

Benefits of participating in the plan also include participants being eligible for Pre-Disaster Mitigation Funding through FEMA and getting points towards FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS), which can lower home insurance rates for homeowners in floodplains.

Window Replacement at the City Building:

Dill said the city is working to replace the windows in the city building - many of which are the original windows from the 60s and are very inefficient. The project was put out to bid, but only two bids were received, one of which was disqualified for not submitting necessary bid bonds.

Dill said since so few bids were received, and the two that did come in were drastically different with one being about $24,000 and one about $48,000, he wants city staff to revisit the project, make adjustments and reissue the bid process.

Council approved Dill’s request.

Target Tax Incentives:

Councilman Adam Meier said that the law, labor and license committee met prior to the council meeting to discuss the targeted tax incentive program. Meier said progress was made, but the committee wanted to conduct more research.

Meier's plan, dubbed "Pretty the City" has been in the works since he joined council, most recently going in front of the Law, Labor and License Committee in May. 

The NKADD prepared the draft after it was moved out of committee in May.


  1. The city as a whole with myself being a resident on summit ave. Speeding needs to be stopped. I can't even back in my driveway without being cussed by passing cars that don't want to slow down. It has gotten worse the last couple years.

  2. 25 mph is absolutely excessive speed on smaller residential streets. It is crazy that the speed limits are the same on streets like Wilders Lane and St. Nicholas as it is on Ft. Thomas Ave and Highland ave. Unfortunately a child had to pay with their life a few years back on the south side of town. Did Mary Brown give those parents her words of wisdom? Mr Bowman is correct that 25 mph is excessive.

  3. This article shows both the problem with what has been a myopic vision of long-standing City officials, as well as the problem with the excessive turnover that we have had on Council, as it pertains to public pedestrian safety on our residential side streets. Having been a crusader on this subject 15 years ago after Stevie Schroder was murdered by a careless motorist on Garrison, a cut through street, I spent countless hours over a year with Council and its Public Safety Committee just trying to get simple speed limit and Children at Play signs on West Southgate, a cut through street which had no signs.. Unlike the current Stealthstat study on Trinity, we did have something like 10% of traffic, over 100'cars, driving over the posted limit of 25, some up to 35 - 40 mph! Although I can tell you that when the traffic engineer does his study at some low-volume time of day, he will find no problem or safety risk according to textbook standards. A common sense observation during peak times, however, will command that residential side streets carry a 20 mph limit. It's called applied risk management and simple regard for human life, especially that of children. Mr Bowman would not known about the education dialogue with Jim Doepker's Public Safety Committee, but Councilman Peterman and Mayor Haas were present. Been there. Done that.
    As for former Mayor Brown's comment that pedestrian safety, particularly that of children, is not the City's "table", but purely a parent responsibility, how cold and irresponsible can we get? Of course kids should not play in the street, but name me the parent that can or should hover over children 100% of the time, especially when playing in one our picturesque Fort Thomas neighbors? Are we really trying to defend vehicular homicide by putting public safety strictly onto parents, giving both motorists and the City as pass? The solution is to post 20 mph on ALL residential side streets, along with Children at Play signs, while our Police engage in risk management by patrolling high risk, for children, side streets instead of low risk roads like Memorial Pky and I-471.

  4. We have cute cozy tree lined streets, narrow cul-de-sacs, houses sandwiched together, and children running wild using every bit of it to their delight -- as they should. Kick the can anybody? You don't need a survey, a traffic study, or to check the budget for funds to conduct one. If the residents on a street want a lower speed limit -- just do it. Who is this council looking out for? That is not a rhetorical question. I honestly do not know why their should be delay or hesitation on this issue. Switch out the signs, save us a few bucks and resources at the same time, and move on. I don't think anybody will come to council complaining the speed limit is too low or the street is too safe.