Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fort Thomas City Council Roundup 2/16

The public hearing for the 2015 Fort Thomas street tax. FTM file. 
By Amanda Dibiaso

The Fort Thomas City Council held their monthly meeting Tuesday, February 16. Council member Lisa Kelly absent. Here’s your round-up:

Reports of officers:

Council accepted the monthly reports from the fire and police departments. In addition to his monthly report, Fire Chief Mark Bailey informed council that the department has applied for a FEMA grant of $163,000 for 20 new self-contained breathing apparatuses.

Currently, the breathing apparatuses used by the department are over 20 years old and are outdated.

The department applied for this grant last year, but Bailey said they have “fine-tuned” their application and he is confident in their chances. He said he expects to find out if they will be awarded the grant in late summer or early fall.

Police Chief Mike Daly had nothing additional to add the report provided to council, but Councilman Roger Peterman noted that every month, the police department’s report includes extensive information about the additional training that is completed by officers. Peterman said he feels that shows “we have a good quality police force that’s looking to get better.”

City Administrator Ron Dill informed council that the project to add bathrooms off the armory’s gymnasium is complete. Dill noted that having bathrooms on the same floor as the gym, as opposed to before when the only bathrooms were on the ground floor, increases safety and security in the building. For example, during open gym hours, staff can now keep the bottom floor locked.

New business:

New business that was brought before council included the consideration of the 2016 Capital Improvement Program and consideration of a planning commission’s resolution to allow Adult Day Care in a General Commercial Zone.

For the 2016 Capital Improvement Program, which includes the city’s Street Resurfacing Program, Councilman Ken Bowman read a report from the council’s Public Works Committee, recommending that the following streets be included in this year’s program: Barrett Drive, Daisy Lane, Gaddis Drive, Haywood Court and Winding Way.

RELATED: Public Works Moves Forward With Street Tax

In the report the committee also recommended geological engineering, design and construction of two section of pier walls for the stabilization of Waterworks Road to facilitate future resurfacing of this road.


The committee also recommended the continuation of the city’s sidewalk replacement program, the reconstruction of the access drive for Highland Park ballfield and the funding of the first phase of a Pedestrian Safety Initiative that will provide enhanced early warning signage and markings are crosswalks in the city’s Central Business District.

The total estimated cost for the 2016 Capital Improvement Program is $491,000. Council voted unanimously to accept the report.

Discussion arose about the planning commission’s recommendation. Bowman said he thought the council should consider waiting to do the first reading since they just received the recommendation and didn’t have time to digest the information.

The issue of whether or not to include Adult Day Care as a permitted use has “a lot of moving parts,” Bowman said. “There are a lot of reasons this should be up for discussion.”

Councilman Ken Bowman. FTM file. 

City Attorney Jann Seidenfaden cautioned council that their decision should be limited to the minutes from the planning commission’s public hearings and their recommendation and shouldn’t include information from the general public at this point.

Dill said changing the city’s zoning is a legal process where the planning commission is tasked with collecting information and getting input from the community. The commission then presents their recommendation to council, who can approve it, reject it, or schedule another hearing to debate the pros and cons.

For more information about this process and the issue of whether or not to permit Adult Day Care in the General Commercial Zone, check back to Fort Thomas Matters for a full story tomorrow.

Old business:

At their January meeting, council heard from resident Dan Fehler, who spoke to the council on behalf of St. Paul United Church of Christ in regards to the church’s portion of the cost assessment for the reconstruction of Churchill Drive, where the church is located.

Fehler said that when Churchill Drive was constructed in the 1980s, he worked with the church, developer and the city on the project. At that time, Fehler said there was an agreement that the city would cover the cost of any future work completed on the street, and asked that council remove the assessment the church is receiving to pay for a portion of the recently completed reconstruction project.

RELATED: St. Paul Church Says Agreement With City Negates Street Tax 

Dill said that since that meeting, staff has looked back through all council and committee meeting minutes from the time when the project was completed and found nothing in regards to the agreement.

Council agreed that in light of no record of the agreement being found, the assessment is to stand as is.

Under old business Dill also brought up the council’s Strategic Planning/Visioning process, which began late last year. Dill said council will meet to continue the process before their next council meeting.

Ordinances:

Council unanimously approved an ordinance outlining the apportionment for the 2015 Street Resurfacing Program, and held the first reading of the ordinance to amend the text of the city’s zoning ordinance to allow Adult Day Care in a General Commercial Zone – council will vote on this ordinance after the second reading at their March meeting.

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