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Ft. Wright: Longtime Officer Retires, City Sets Tax Rate

Sergeant Michael Knight, with the Fort Wright Police Department since 1997, tearfully said goodbye to the community and City Council on Wednesday evening after receiving a plaque for his 18 years of service, closing a chapter of accomplishment he began as an officer before being promoted to Detective in 2003 and Sergeant in 2007. Along the way, he earned Greater Cincinnati Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year and Robert Shields Police Officer of the Year, simultaneously raising the profile of the city’s department.

“The citizens of Fort Wright…I could not have found a better community to serve. Thank you for a wonderful journey,” Knight said through tears. “All of you have greatly enriched my life and my service. The education, training, and experience I have gained over the past 18 years has helped me become a better person and given me the opportunity to start a new career. And for that I thank you. I will miss each of you and I pray that God will continue to bless each of you and your families with good health and happiness.”

“To me, I think you’re one of those quiet leaders,” Councilman Bernie Wessels told Knight. “Being a quiet leader, sometimes, I think you get a lot of things done…I’ve heard current officers, past officers that have a lot of respect for you, as I do. Thank you for your service,” he said.

Police Chief Dan Kreinest mentioned he has received calls the last several weeks from citizens commending Knight on his job performance, a testament to his character, the chief stated.

City Passes Tax Rate

For the fiscal year that began on July 1, ending June 30, 2016, a tax rate of 0.276 on each $100 value of real estate, and an annual rate of 0.400 on each $100 value on personal and mixed property, City Attorney Todd McMurtry said.

“It is a tax increase any way you slice it, that’s the bottom line. It’ll cost you more this year than it did last year,” Mayor Dave Hatter said. “But I will say that you’ve got to look at the rate of increase over the years, we’ve tried to be very judicious in how much we take and if you look at others cities and their rates, we’re still in the bottom third of all the cities in Kenton County…We provide excellent services for the money that we do get. I think we do an excellent job with the relatively constrained resources that we have,” he added.

“Thankfully, due to the great work of the finance committee and the staff of the previous Mayor, our finances are in good shape, we are debt free. Things are going well financially, people are sticking with the budget…We felt the prudent thing to do this year was to stick with the compensating rate,” Hatter said. Stating an example, an owner of a $100,000 home would owe $276, he concluded.

Other Notes

Many police, fire and EMT agencies throughout the region responded to the tragic fatal accident on Tuesday afternoon near the intersection of Reeves Drive and Highland Pike, Kreinest said. The State Highway Patrol, Public Works, and other additional state departments came together in a “difficult and tragic scene,” the Chief said.

Kreinest added that the Police Memorial Golf Outing will take place on September 18, and spots are still available for people to sign up, in addition to those interested in sponsorship.

The former Fifth Third Bank building across the street from St. Agnes Church will be transformed into a family dentistry business, council reported.

The Hope Box Derby will take place Saturday, September 12, on Wright Summit Parkway from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Story & photo by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor