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Friday, January 15, 2021

Cold Spring Holds In-Person Special Meeting to Discuss DAV Property After Complaints Over Procedures

Cold Spring city council held a special meeting in person only to continue its discussion of the DAV property after technology challenges and school board complaints over procedures.

by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

The Cold Spring City Council called a special meeting Wednesday, January 13, to vote on issues surrounding the purchase of the Disabled American Veterans property. The meeting was held in-person only at the Cold Spring city building.

Since the pandemic, the city has been following state health guidelines with livestreaming of their meetings shared on its Facebook page. Yet, after a complaint from the Campbell County School Board about the processes of some of the meetings and some technical difficulties encountered with the livestreaming, the council decided to return to holding public meetings in person only at the city building.

RELATED: Campbell School Board Raises Issues With City Meetings on DAV; Council Meets to Discuss

Three of the council members did not attend the meeting but instead joined through  Zoom conference. The city told Fort Thomas Matters they followed Kentucky law in providing the required 24-hour notice of the special meeting, but no one from the public attended. 

City explores value of proposed development

After returning from the executive session, city attorney Brandon Voelker gave a summary of what was discussed.

The developer, Al. Neyer and the DAV have an agreement in place with an unnamed healthcare facility to build a facility on the property. While the name of the healthcare business was kept confidential, Voelker said council learned more about the financial status of the company and what it could bring to the city.

"We have received confirmation of the general nature of the medical facility, notably that it will pay taxes whether in the form of a lease payment or payment in lieu of taxes," he explained.

The facility under discussion has an estimated value of 80 to 85 million dollars and will bring an about 240 jobs with an annual salary average of between $85,000 and $95,000. The city also learned that the DAV was agreeable to sell the property for $6.5 million.

"This development is the culmination of almost two years worth of work since the city was notified that the DAV was leaving. That economic development is an essential function of city government and critical to its survival and providing of services," he said.

The project, he said, would “provide economic benefit not only to the city of Cold Spring but businesses in the form of new customers and/or other taxing districts as the purchase is pursuant to the request for development from the city.”

As part of the financing industrial revenue bonds (IRB) and other similar financing would be issued to ensure payment of all applicable taxes.

Voelker noted that over a year ago the city was approached about a potential IRB due to infrastructure needs on the property including addressing a high-pressure gas line that runs across the property. The gas line has been a point of discussion between all parties interested in the property as it may pose a safety threat and will need to be addressed by whoever purchases the property.

Council members at the meeting voted unanimously to accept the information Voelker shared. (Council member Adam Sandfoss was not present.) 

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Authorizing city officials to act

The next point of business for the executive session was to ask council to pass a motion to allow the city officials to file any necessary legal actions against the Campbell County school district or their representatives. The motion passed, but Council Member Cindy Moore voted against.

The final business discussed was a memorandum of purchase agreement between the developer, the medical facility and the city. This did not commit the city to purchase the property from the DAV but rather set up a period of time for Neyer, the city and the medical facility to determine whether they want to proceed with the matter, said Voelker. 

A motion was needed to ratify the action of the mayor to enter into the assignment of the purchase agreement with Neyer as well as a memorandum of purchase agreement with the DAV, he said.

Council passed this motion unanimously.

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