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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Highland Heights Focuses on Fairness and Kindness at December Council Meeting

Highland Heights City Attorney Steve Franzen reads the summary of the city's new Fairness Ordinance at the December council meeting.

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor 

By passing a Fairness Ordinance at its December 3 council meeting, Highland Heights joined a growing number of Northern Kentucky cities updating their city codes to specifically include protections for LGBTQ community members.

City Attorney Steve Franzen read a summary of the the Highland Heights ordinance that is closely based on Dayton’s recent ordinance. The ordinance "promotes fair treatment and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or familial status. The city desires to protect all individuals from discrimination on the basis of these protected classifications in the context of housing, financial transactions, employment and public accommodations."

The council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance and were met with a round of applause from those present.
2000 Memorial Parkway, Fort Thomas. 

Celebrating good neighbors

The council also celebrated the success of several community events at the meeting. Through its "Good Neighbor" program, council nominated groups of people within the community who had helped contribute to the success of the events.

In November, the city combined its annual celebrations of Veterans Day and a Senior Breakfast that brought out 75 people, more than it has in the last two years, said Public Works Director Steve Lehman.

Community support was key to the success of the event. In particular, officials thanked a group of honor students from Northern Kentucky University who came out to help. Mayor Greg Meyers noted that the students not only helped with set up, serving and other duties, but they took the time to sit down and talk with the veterans and seniors, something many mentioned as a highlight.

The NKU Honor students received a Good Neighbor Award for their kindness and support.

The Highland Heights tree lighting ceremony is wonderful every year, said the mayor, but this year he wanted to honor the Asbury United Methodist Church Choir who made the event special by entertaining and leading the community in song. The choir also received a Good Neighbor Award.

More city business

In addition to passing the Fairness Ordinance, city council also passed an ordinance that would amend the payroll tax to raise the cap to the maximum amount allowed in the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA. The city has had a cap but will now follow the federal maximum. City officials have sent a letter to area businesses about this change and is contacting the larger employers directly.

The city also continued its discussion about air B and Bs and similar short-term rentals. Meyers said it may be necessary to consider a separate ordinance. He tasked the city attorney with looking into the matter. Council members are examining ordinances from nearby cities and similar communities with colleges, and plans to revisit the issue in future meetings.

City council voted to cancel its second scheduled December meeting, so will not meet again as a body until January.

City Clerk Jeanne Pettit reminded those present of a recent change in hours at the city building. The city offices are now open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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