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Busy Meeting for Covington Commission After Month-Long Hiatus

More than thirty days will have passed since the last Covington City Commission meeting when the mayor and commissioners gather again on Tuesday. In the time between the two meetings more than $100 million in Downtown investments were announced, including the ambitious expansion of Gateway Community & Technical College's urban campus and the development of City Hall into a boutique hotel. 

Also notable, this will be the first meeting since the November 6 election in which Commissioner Sherry Carran defeated Commissioner Steve Casper in the race for mayor. Commissioner Steve Frank will return to the dais after a commanding first-place finish in the race for city commission. 

After Tuesday's meeting there will be just two more for this self-proclaimed "unified commission" that also includes Mayor Chuck Scheper and Commissioner Shawn Masters, neither of whom sought election this year.

Tuesday will also mark the first meeting since the massive reorganization of the leadership structure inside City Hall. City Manager Larry Klein told The River City News that the changes have been posititve. "It's going very well, I think," Klein said. We were able to get (newly named business development manager) Naashom Marx to hit the ground running, and she's doing a great job so far." Klein also noted that the City will hire a third residential rental inspector Tuesday and is still looking to fill the newly created marketing and communication position.

One key change for Klein that was recommended by the Cincinnati-based Management Partners consulting firm was to reduce the number of employees that report directly to the city manager. That number has changed from thirteen direct reports to around seven. "It's good," Klein said. "I can focus on police, fire, and public works and still have confidence that (Assistant City Manager) Larisa Sims and her team are doing their jobs on development and community services. It's putting a good team in place and taking our good employees and giving them more responsibilities. It's about getting good, qualified energetic people doing the job."

Here is the agenda for Tuesday's Covington City Commission meeting:

  • The commission will vote on the proposed residential rental inspection program (SEE: Commission to Vote on Proposed Rental Inspection Program)
  • Will would-be urban farmers be allowed to raise chickens in their yards? Possibly. (SEE: Chickens May Soon Be Permitted in Covington)
  • A nineteenth century mansion could be torn down to make way for a new Walgreen's as the developers seek approval from the commission after being rejected by a board of citizens (SEE: Controversial Walgreen's Development to Seek Approval from City Commission)
  • Another effort will be made to hire a second full-time arborist in the city after the first attempt by Commissioner Carran in September did not come up for a vote after her fellow commissioners refused to second the motion (SEE: Tree Job Does Not Get a Vote). A municpal groundskeeper position is also on the agenda.
  • An ordinance to reorganize the city's finance department
  • Police Department equipment will be declared surplus property and sold

Several other items on the agenda will receive their first public readings, meaning there will be no vote on them at this meeting. Those include the creation of the Covington Economic Development Authority which will oversee Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district (this is the type of additional financing described during the announcement of The Hotel Covington), and the renaming of the code enforcement department to community services division and giving the code enforcement board the authority of a nuisance enforcement board.

The River City News - as always - will have the most comprehensive coverage available following the meeting.

Written by Michael Monks, Editor & Publisher of The River City News

PHOTO: The Covington City Commission/The City of Covington