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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

City Council Roundup: VA deed signing, new officer and employee contracts

Fort Thomas City Administrator Ron Dill and Mayor Eric Haas enjoy the moment as they sign the financial agreement for the VA Homes project in June.

By Robin Gee

The mood was buoyant at the July 15 city council meeting as members discussed recent Sesquicentennial events held during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Mayor Eric Haas thanked the council, city staff and the many volunteers and participants who helped make the city’s celebration a big success. Recognition of volunteers and more details will be shared at the August meeting of council.

Both the police and fire departments reported few incidents during the events and early reports were that participants enjoyed a safe and fun celebration of Fort Thomas and its history.

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VA homes deed

The signing of the deed for the VA homes led the short list of items addressed at the meeting.

Mayor Haas signed a 31-page deed document that officially transferred properties from the Veterans Administration to the city of Fort Thomas.

RELATED: City Signing of VA Homes Deed Met With Applause

The mayor announced that later in the week, the Fort Thomas Independent School Board was expected to approve a funding agreement that would provide the schools a pilot payment in lieu of taxes.

Under the agreement, homeowners would make payments equivalent to what they would pay in property taxes. A fixed sum of $135,700 would go to the developers to cover their investment and, starting in Year Three, Fort Thomas schools would receive the remainder.

In Year Fourteen and thereafter, the city also would receive a pilot payment of 15 percent of the money remaining after the developers’ share. Campbell County agreed to forego any monies from the project.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Schools Approve VA Homes Funding Plan

New police officer

Chief Mike Daly introduced a new police recruit to city council. Joe Paolucci of Fort Thomas is attending the police academy and is expected to return to the department in January 2018.

He will be badge number 4451.

RELATED: Local Resident Joins Fort Thomas Police Department 

Neighborhood concerns

Bluegrass Avenue residents approached city council with concerns that a man convicted of child molestation in Georgia had moved into their neighborhood. They wanted clarification on a Kentucky law that prohibits such individuals from residing within 1,000 feet of a school or other places where children congregate.

The concerns stemmed from whether the offender would be subject to the residency law because of the timing of his offences.

City Attorney Jann Seidenfaden responded, “The city became aware of the situation and they contacted this gentleman’s parole officer. We’ve done research on it and we have had conversations with the Campbell County attorney.”

It was determined the offender, who was convicted in 2004 for crimes committed in 2002 and 2003, was subject to residency laws in Georgia and Kentucky in effect at that time, and the current residency restriction does apply.

Seidenfaden said Campbell County Attorney Steve Franzen has informed the individual that he must move from the Bluegrass Avenue location and has given him a reasonable amount of time to do so. He also warned the individual that if he does not comply, he would be subject to charges.

“One of our officers also spoke directly to this gentleman and was told he is the process of relocating to another city,” said Seidenfaden.

“This does not prohibit him or any individual in this situation from being on your street,” she noted. “If you see him on the street, he is not breaking any laws but he cannot live there. And he has indicated he does not have the intention of living there.”

City personnel contracts

In a final piece of business, the council gave Mayor Haas permission to sign contract agreements with two city unions. The city has completed negotiations for three-year contracts with the Fraternal Of Police (FOP), representing Fort Thomas police officers, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 286 representing employees in the Public Works Department.

Both contracts include base pay increases of four percent in the first year, three percent in the second and two percent in the third year of the contract.

Additional changes to the prior FOP contract:
  • an amendment to the grievance process requiring union review before putting forward a grievance
  • an amendment to line-of-duty death benefits to cover spouse and dependents for a period of 90 days
  • In the third year only, a 23- or 24-cent per hour longevity increase for eligible individuals
  • an amendment to the educational incentives to base reimbursement on the Northern Kentucky University cost structure. Reimbursement percentage also will reflect employee achievement and grades. This benefit is in keeping with that offered to Fire Department employees.

Additional changes to the previous AFSCME contract:
  • a provision to reduce the hourly pay rate by five percent in the event an employee loses CDL licensing for any reason other than medical condition and a pay reduction for loss of license due to medical conditions of one dollar per hour
  • in the third year only, those with more than 10 years of service will receive a 12-cent per hour longevity increase


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