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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Cold Spring Approves Interim Board Member, Moves on Property Taxes, Halloween Plans

Artwork by Gavin, a winner in the Cold Spring Children's Art Contest.

By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

At a short September 28 meeting, the Cold Spring City Council elected former council member Brenda Helton-Rodgers to serve out the remaining term vacated by Michael Ruscher who resigned earlier in the month. 




Ruscher left council before the end of his term because he moved out of the city. Council member Chris Ampfer nominated and Lisa Cavanaugh seconded Helton-Rodgers to fill the position that runs through December 31.

Helton-Rodgers was one of five candidates for the position. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a former Cold Spring council member and also served on the city’s Planning and Zoning commission, said Ampfer.

Mayor D. Angelo Penque also reappointed Donna Farr to serve on the Code Enforcement Board for the city. She will serve a four-year term.

First reading of property tax rate


City council members voted to approve the first reading of the 2020 property tax rate. The proposed rate will be the compensating rate of .154 per $100 in valuation. This is the second year in a row city officials have taken the compensating rate only, and it is two points lower than 2019.

Council member Paul Kloeker credited city administration, staff and council for taking careful fiscal responsibility to enable the city to be able to budget to take only the compensating rate.

Halloween is on in Cold Spring parks and neighborhoods


Penque said mayors in Campbell County have been meeting and decided to host trick or treating this year at the same time. Trick or treating in Cold Spring will take place on Halloween Saturday, October 31, from 6 to 8 p.m.

He also announced that city staff is volunteering time to hand out candy at the same time in the city parks. He invited council members to volunteer as well and thanked staff for suggesting and planning the event.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department is expected to issue health and safety guidelines for Halloween soon.



Children’s Art Contest winners announced


The mayor announced winners in four different age categories in the citywide Children’s Art Contest. The winners depicted scenes from throughout the city. They were:

  • Adelyn C., age 3, in the 0- to 3-year-old category for "Pond Off Darlas Drive"
  • Scarlett G., age 6, in the 4- to 7-year-old category for "Fireworks and Sunset at the Robert J. Barth Lake Park"
  • Gavin K., age 11, in the 8- to 11-year-old category for "Cold Spring City Sign at US 27 and E. Alexandria Pike"
  • Jaden C., age 15, in the 12- to 16-year-old category for "Veteran Monument and City Building"

"Pond Off Darlas Drive" by Adelyn

 
"Fireworks and Sunset at the Robert J. Barth Lake Park” by Scarlett

"Veteran Monument and City Building” by Jaden

Discussion and disagreements


A member of the audience addressed council but did not give her name. She brought up concerns that council member Cindy Moore had handed out a letter after being censured by the council at a meeting earlier in the month, and the resident felt it contained inaccurate information.

This later opened a discussion between members of council about a letter that has been circulating by Moore that reiterates complaints she has made over the past year. An exchange between council members Ampfer, Cavanaugh and Moore discussed her complaints and the responses she has received to her concerns.

"It came to my attention that Cindy’s been passing out information in some of the neighborhoods trying to paint the mayor in bad light," said Ampfer. "She’s brought this up several times. I don’t know why she keeps doing this but everything the mayor does he does for the city. To insinuate that he is misspending money is incorrect. We pass a budget every year. We all get to look at it. It’s not our duty to look at line by line spending as Cindy wishes to do."

Moore has voiced concerns about the pay raise voted on by council that would increase council pay by $400 for incoming members. She also expressed concerns about spending by the mayor, including the purchase of wifi to have while away on vacation and said the mayor had ended a requirement for standing advisory committees. 



Ampfer and Cavanaugh addressed these concerns. Cavanaugh noted that the removal of advisory committees was a council decision made in August 2019. She also explained, as part of his duties, the mayor is expected to be available in the case of emergencies even on vacation, and the wifi purchase was to ensure he could be reached if needed.

"My understanding is that when the mayor is gone a certain distance, he appoints somebody to be in charge, however, the mayor has to be contacted in an emergency... it was a necessary expense as part of his job. That was brought up, and there was nothing out of the ordinary about that. I want to clarify that,” said Cavanaugh.

Moore said her concerns stemmed from differences between what was written in some ordinances and what is happening in practice. She said, if the ordinance language is wrong or unclear, it should be changed.

Cavanaugh responded "I would agree we can look at ordinances, but not what is being done, which is spreading these falsehoods. My point in speaking about this is to clarify the facts about the wifi, the advisory committees and other claims."

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