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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

City Council Roundup: Trash Collection To Increase 28.6 Percent

By Robin Gee

Some 400 Fort Thomas citizens were involved one way or the other in helping to bring about the week-long celebration of the city’s Sesquicentennial.

"From my standpoint it was one of the most awesome experiences I have ever had," said Mayor Eric Haas. "It was a wonderful week, and thank you to all the volunteers who did so much."
The mayor kicked off the August 21 city council meeting with a presentation of participant awards:

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Best Representation of Our Sesquicentennial
First Place: Fort Thomas Education Foundation (pictured above)
Second place: Tower Place Families

Most Original:
First Place: Dance Realm
Second Place: Fort Thomas Florist

The Dance Realm. FTM file. 

Most Entertaining:
First Place: Shriners
Second Place: Highland United Methodist Church

The shriners with Mayor Eric Haas. FTM file. 

Hearing from the volunteers

Council and audience members heard from four volunteers who led different efforts.

Linda Slone read off an extensive list of events that took place over the week. She counted 58 events and pre-events, including a play, two YMCA runs, the parade, the 150th birthday party, bike rides, contests, the Fort Thomas Youth Choir, museum and historic site tours, the crowning of a pet mayor, a classic car show and a special celebration of area veterans.

Kim Rechtin noted that events honored the past, present and future — from the historical displays in the Mess Hall to the creation of a time capsule to be opened at the city’s 200-year anniversary.

The Fort to Farm dinner was led by Courtney Shannon who said volunteers served more than 216 meals of wonderful food prepared by the staff of Colonel De and raised $16,000 toward the planned statue of General George H. Thomas.

Sean Donelan organized the veterans for events throughout the week. He counted 45 veterans who participated in the parade float and the Charters of Freedom dedication. He was especially pleased with the decision to name a small street near the monument Veterans Way.

The mayor and council members praised the volunteers for a memorable and highly successful event.

Citizen input

Following the awards and discussion of the Sesquicentennial activities, the council heard from residents about two other matters.

Jordan and Bryan Dunbar of Ohio Avenue came to ask for leniency or changes to the city ordinance regarding backyard chickens. The family lives on a corner lot, and their coop is not the required distance from other houses due to the lot configuration.

The Law, Labor and License committee will review the ordinance and discuss the matter at its next meeting.

RELATED: Backyard Chickens Bring Up Issues in Fort Thomas

Joe Bartoszek asked council for ideas on how speed can be reduced in the Summit neighborhood. Two weeks ago, near the corner of Holiday Avenue and Garden Way, a car coming down the hill flipped and slammed into his wife’s car.

He asked if the city would explore reducing the speed limit or installing a four-way stop at the intersection. Using the process in place for determining traffic speed and traffic flow, the city engineers will look at the corner in question. If the corner does not meet the specifications to become a four-way stop, council discussed other ideas.

The mayor and council agreed that several neighborhoods have made similar requests, and further discussion is needed on ideas to get drivers to slow down in residential neighborhoods throughout the city.

RELATED: Recent Incident Highlights Speeding Issue

Other news and actions

Police Chief Mike Daly announced the retirement of Lt. Jamey Gadzala as of September 1. The lieutenant has been with the department for 21 years.

City Administrator Ron Dill reported the 2017 street repair program is well underway. Work on Lilac, Diana and Lafayette has been completed. Work on Washington and Custis continues.

Waste collection bids came in and overall cost for the service has increased. The lowest bid was from Rumpke with a 28.6 percent increase in the first year. This translates to about a $35 annual increase for homeowners. Dill checked with other nearby cities and found the increase is in keeping with cost increases across the region.

Through an interlocal agreement with the city of Southgate, Fort Thomas has agreed to maintain sidewalks on US 27 between Highland and Overlook. The houses on this street are in Fort Thomas but, technically, part of the sidewalk is in Southgate.

The council voted to adopt the Northern Kentucky Development District Hazard Mitigation Plan, a plan required by FEMA. There is an option for cities to develop their own but council agreed it makes sense to join other cities in the regional plan.

Tonight (September 5) council will hear the first reading of the property tax ordinance that could raise taxes on property owners. A public hearing will follow and the vote will occur at the next council meeting.

PHOTO: The Meier and Duke families represented the Fort Thomas Education Foundation, who won best representation of the Fort Thomas 150, during the Fourth of July parade. FTM file. 

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