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Thursday, September 19, 2019

City Council Roundup: New Police Officers, Tower Park Projects, Golf Carts, Tax Rates

Fort Thomas Police Chief Casey Kilgore congratulates new officer Carl Harris Jr.

 By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

Two new police officers received their badges at the September 16 meeting of Fort Thomas City Council. Both new officers Brandon Vance and Carl Harris Jr. bring experience to their positions.

Officer Carl Harris Jr. comes to the Fort Thomas Police Department from the Campbell County Police Department where he served four years. During his service he was a field training officer and adviser for the Explorers Program, said Chief Casey Kilgore.

A Fort Thomas resident, Harris volunteers for Prom to Dawn alcohol-free prom afterparty program and also coaches youth sports. He has received several awards including that of Police Officer of the Year. His badge number is 4454, and he will be on third shift.

"I feel blessed to be back home. Four years out at the county, I loved it there but it’s good to be home," Harris said.

New Fort Thomas police officer Brandon Vance comes to the department with experience in crime scene investigation.

Officer Brandon Vance has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration. He comes to the department after working for Wilder Police Department and, before that he served on the Newport Police Department where he had a reputation as a very capable detective, crime scene investigator and a field training officer. While at Newport, he ran the investigative unit. Assigned to second shift, Officer Vance has badge number 4453.

Mayor Eric Haas congratulated and thanked the new officers.

"It’s been kind of busy this summer with all the retirings, hirings and promotions," said Chief Kilgore. "We’ve been lucky to hire some of the best and retain the best, and we’re super happy to have these people aboard."

Traffic concerns around Tower Park

Fort Thomas resident Danielle Witterstaetter addressed council to voice her concerns about traffic safety in and around Tower Park and on other busy streets in Fort Thomas. She explained that recently her family of six were trying to cross near the park and were almost hit. She said she is very concerned about the speed of traffic around the park, and asked if there was anything she or other citizens could do to help with the issue.

Both Mayor Haas and City Administrator Ron Dill said they were aware of the issue and have been working on solutions, especially in the Tower Park area. Dill said some of the streets are state routes and so he plans to reach out to state officials once again for help in the matter. He added that plans are in motion to examine and improve all crosswalks in Tower Park.

City project updates

Dill said staff has been working on preparations to rebid the Shelter 3 construction project in Tower Park. As noted at the last council meeting, bids for the project all came in overbudget. Staff met with the three lowest bidders to determine where the costs were and how they might rebid to keep in budget. The plan now is to rebid without the additional restroom facility. That facility will be put on hold for later.

A request for qualifications will be coming in for a design team to help with city building improvements. The plan is to have the design team in place and a timeline for the work by October 1.

In this year’s city budget is an item to hire someone to assist city officials and council in the implementation phase of the community plan. Chris Manning of Human Nature has been selected for the position and has a working agreement with the city. Dill said with Manning on board, officials will have more time to dedicate to implementation of the plan.

Tennis Technology won the bid for the project to reseal and resurface all six tennis courts in Tower Park. The bid is for $49,884. The Fort Thomas Independent School District will participate in some of the costs of the project, Dill said.

The end of the short council meeting came to a close after the passage of two ordinances presented at the last meeting. Both the ordinance allowing and setting the rules for golf carts in the city and the city tax rate passed, which passed 4-0 and 5-0 respectively. Councilman David Cameron was absent from the meeting and Councilman Adam Blau abstained from the former vote.

RELATED: City Council Roundup: Tax Rate, Bond Issuance, Golf Carts, Grow Grant

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