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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fort Thomas City Council Round-Up (May)

LtoR: Chuck Thompson, Roger Peterman, Jeff Bezold, Eric Haas, Lisa Kelly, Ken Bowman, John Muller. FTM file. 
By Jennifer Summer 

The Fort Thomas City Council met on Monday, May 16, 2016.  All members were present except for Mayor Eric Haas, who was attending a State Chamber of Commerce conference. The meeting was called to order at 7:02 pm with council member Roger Peterman sitting in for the mayor.

Minutes were read from the April 18, 2016 council meeting.

A Fort Thomas resident who lives on Bluegrass Avenue addressed council about a property next to him that is consistently neglected. Mr. Mark Vallegas stated that the home has damaged gutters, a dead tree in the front, and grass that is left un-mowed.

“We have an absentee owner [who lives in Florida] and a tenant that’s not maintaining the property and a system that tries to address that that seems to be broken.”

Mr. Vallegas said that when the city cracks down and tells them to clean up, they “do the bare minimum and the situation just gets worse.”

City Administrative Officer, Ron Dill said, “There’s been multiple years where this particular owner has been notified and some of it is a seasonal issue; the high grass and high weeds. We’ve discovered recently that the owner had moved two different times, to Florida and North Carolina, but they are local again. 

The hardship to getting proper notice is sometimes an issue, but when we notify an owner under our ordinances, they are given 14 days, which requires a second notice before we can enter it into a district court system. I think our possibility for change would be shortening those time periods for certain types of violations through our zoning text.”

Mr. Vallegas continued, “My question is, giving the high regard that we have for the city, it just seems like the process for addressing these issues is broken. My understanding is that in other cities they have a process where the city is able to go in, have someone take care of the issues and then bill the owner. That seems to be a better solution to solve the problem rather than continuously send letters and have them not take any action. What’s a better way to address the problem? The issue is getting worse and worse every year.”

Former council member, Adam Meier, campaigned in part on an initiative that would deal with code enforcement of problem homes and vacant homes.

RELATED: Meier's 'Pretty The City' Initiative Moves In Front Of Council 

Councilman Jeff Bezold said he still believes that's a good idea.

“There are bank owned properties out there and they have people in place to take care of these things and they pay them, but they’re not setting it up or they’re not doing it, one or the other.  We need to step in as a city.  There’s a whole department for it. I am pushing for dilapidated properties to be dealt with with a stronger hand.  I would like to include it under Pretty the City because it makes sense.”

The monthly reports for the Fire Department, Police Department, and City Administrator were read by Chief Mark Bailey, Chief Mike Daly, and Ron Dill, respectively.  The heroin epidemic remains a primary concern.  Chief Mark Bailey stated, “St. Elizabeth has donated 16 boxes of Narcan. This will certainly help our supply of Narcan on hand.”

The status of the VA homes were also discussed.

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Ron Dill stated that they had a conference call to review some documents. “We have started to have meetings with the utility companies, which is the other big cost item. We have already initiated conversations with Duke Energy to see the infrastructure improvements and costs associated with those to try to formulate those numbers into the development plan. I wish I could tell you there’s more to report on that, but unfortunately there’s not.

It’s really in the VA’s hands and I know you’ve heard that before. We do have a developer that’s very interested in the project so we’re continuing to work with them.”

Ken Bowman asked when Bloomfield-Schon (the developer) would have to come to the city for an extension.  Mr. Dill said, “We’ll certainly talk about the issues related to the project at that point. The ball is really in the court of the VA and we can’t really do anything until we solve that first issue with them.”  This extension should be signed by June 1.

RELATED: Details of the VA Homes Developer Agreement 

Discussion took place about the Waterworks Road bridge, which has been closed since February (located in Newport).  Ron Dill stated, “Traffic pattern wise with Waterworks Road for the north part of our community, there’s going to be no direct connection to one of those parallel roads. That’s going to push traffic to the Grand Avenue exits and potentially some of our other connector streets, whether that’s Dayton Pike or Covert Run. It will change traffic patterns for the remainder of this year.”

FTM will have more information on this soon.

A proclamation was read to declare May 20, 2016 “Play On” Day.  Chuck Reed, a native son of Fort Thomas and the bass player for the local rock band DV8, is a pancreatic cancer survivor.  The campaign “Play On” was created to motivate others to continue with the things that bring them passion and energy.  The good health and well-being of the residents of Campbell County are enhanced as a direct result of increased awareness about pancreatic cancer.

Other Ordinances, Resolutions, and Orders are as follows:

Ordinance O-05-2016: Intent to Proceed with 2016 Street Resurfacing Project | Approve

Ordinance O-06-2016: Amending the Personnel Pay and Classification Plan | Approve
(This was amended as follows:  The position of ‘director of general services/assistant to the city administrative officer’ be amended to ‘general services director’ on the authorized positions list.  The position of ‘general services foreman’ be amended to ‘general services superintendent’ on the authorized positions list.  The position of ‘city treasurer/director of finance’ be amended to ‘director of finance/assistant to the city administrative officer’ on the authorized positions list).

Municipal Order MO-04-2016:  Appointing Mike Rice to the Tree Commission | Approve

Executive Order EO-06-2016:  Re-appointing Dave Wormald to the Planning Commission | No action taken

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