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Monday, March 29, 2021

Fort Thomas City Council Project and Personnel Updates

Fort Thomas City Council continues to meet at the Mess Hall in Tower Park (and online) as work on the City Building continues. 

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by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Fort Thomas City Council continues to meet in the Mess Hall in Tower Park as work continues on the city building project. City Administrator Ron Dill reported that the contractor has completed initial demolition of the interior spaces and the asbestos abatement is near completion. Next on the task is is relocation of utilities, which will begin this month.

At the March council meeting Dill also reported on long-awaited North Fort Thomas Avenue sidewalk projects. Construction is scheduled to begin April 1 and will continue for about eight weeks, depending on the weather.

Sidewalk projects move forward

Council approved the lowest bid for the 2020 sidewalk program. Due to the budget being pushed back because of the pandemic, bids went out this year for the 2020 sidewalk replacement projects.

Streets scheduled are Mayfield Avenue, Robson Avenue, Beechwood Avenue and Greenwood Avenue. The city received two bids for the project, one from Humphrey Concrete for $45,730, and another from TMS Construction for $57,624. Council approved the lowest bid, submitted by Humphrey Concrete.

Dill also noted that a Public Hearing was scheduled for March 23 at the Public Works Committee meeting about the 2021 Streets Program.

Ordinances in first reading

The following ordinances received a first reading and will be voted upon at the next meeting of council:

  • Amendment to the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual
    This ordinance amends the manual in the area of employee health insurance including changes in the language on health waivers and updating employee per diem rates.
  • An ordinance adding short term rental regulations to the Code of Ordinances and an ordinance amending the text of the Zoning Ordinance to allow short term rentals to be added in residential, central business and commercial zones.
RELATED: Fort Thomas Planning Recommends Adding Short-Term Rentals to Zoning Codes

More resolutions and business

Council also approved an agreement between the city and the Fort Thomas Board of Education to continue leasing the tennis courts at Tower Park to the Highlands High School tennis teams during their season. An increased lease payment is in recognitions of the costs associated with the maintenance of the surface and commitment of use. The terms of the lease will run through the end of 2025.

Council also approved the following:

  • Memorandum of Agreement for the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan through FEMA.
    The plan includes the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, of which Fort Thomas is a part, and is required to be in place to be eligible for pre-disaster and hazard mitigation funding through FEMA.
  • Amendment to the agreement between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the city regarding the North Fort Thomas sidewalk project.
    This amendment adds federal Construction Phase funding to the project and amends federal Design Phase funding. It also extends the project end date to June 30, 2023.
  • Resolution in support of the Vision Zero Grant for Chesapeake Avenue.
14 N. Grand Avenue. 

City personnel issues

Campbell County Commissioner Tom Lampe, a longtime Fort Thomas resident and former member of council addressed city council to publicly thank retiring city attorney Jann Seidenfaden for her service.

Lampe noted he worked directly with Seidenfaden while he served as a Fort Thomas council member for 12 years.

"I have first-hand experience of witnessing her knowledge of the law, and I will say as a council member, it was comforting for us to have confidence in our city attorney making sure we were in compliance amongst other things. More importantly than that was the manner in which she conducted herself. It was always with a smile, and it was always with a pleasant demeanor."

He turned to Seidenfaden to say, "You treated people nicely and with respect thus earning the respect of others. You represented our city very well. It was a privilege serving with you, and I really want to thank you for everything you’ve done over the years. I wish you well."

After Lampe spoke Mayor Eric Haas gave Seidenfaden some retirement gifts and thanked her for her years of service.

"When I interviewed for this position, I had an eight-month-old son, and I was pregnant with my daughter and that was a long time ago. Since then, both of those children have married, and I have four grandsons. So, in 36 years a lot has happened in my life personally as well as professionally,” Seidenfaden said. “It was so great to work with mayors, council members, administration, police, fire. Everybody has always been very cooperative. If we had a problem, we took it head on and solved it with everybody’s input."

She listed out some of the projects she had a part in of which she was most proud including restoration of homes on Greene and Pearson streets, the 15-year challenge that led to the development of the Alexander Circle homes, the addition of streetscapes in Midway and the Central Business District and the improved park system.

Seidenfaden also welcomed incoming city attorney Tim Schneider. This was his first meeting as city council attorney.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Welcomes New City Attorney

In other personnel matters, council also approved municipal orders appointing:

  • Tim Schneider, a partner with Fessler, Schneider & Grimme as city attorney for Fort Thomas

  • Charles Long, as a firefighter/paramedic

  • Patrolman Michael Rowland announced his retirement at the end of March. He was assigned to the Northern Kentucky Drug Task Force over the last several years and as served as the dog handler for Rexo.

Executive session

At the end of the meeting, council went into Executive Session to discuss two property matters: the possible participation/acquisition of certain property or properties within the Central Business District for public parking and the potential transfer/trade of property with the Fort Thomas Independent Schools District (area in Tower Park/River Road property).

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