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Ft. Mitchell to Join Cities Against SD1 Agreement, Swears In New Fire Leadership

New Fort Mitchell Fire Chief Gary Auffart and Assistant Fire Chief Jim Hils were officially sworn in to their positions Monday evening, closing a months-long search by the city to fill its top positions within the fire department.

Mayor Jude Hehman and council wanted to be sure Hils was rewarded for his admirable work in the interim spot while the search was being conducted, he told the assembled crowd of family members for Auffart and Hils. “Jim stepped up as Captain of our fire department and was Interim Chief for several months and did a great job. This is well-deserved, creating the full-time position of Assistant Fire Chief and doing that for Jim,” Hehman concluded.

“He’s going to do a tremendous job helping me lead this department,” Auffart added.

Also Monday, City Administrator Sharmili Reddy updated council on the Sanitation District 1 agreement, saying that the city will sign the inter-local pact rather than the sewer lateral agreement due to its significant cost, she said.

But, “What happens if we have a resident with a sewer lateral that runs under the street and they have to replace it?,” Councilman Dennis Zahler asked Reddy.

“We haven’t signed an agreement, so the city will pick up the tab but we don’t have an agreement in place with SD1 right now,” she said to Zahler’s questioning on why the city wouldn’t want to hold the Sanitation District liable, but was assured that the city is joining the lawsuit, thus making his proposed scenario moot.

City Attorney Brad Ziegler introduced a First Reading as the initial step forward for the city to enter into the Interlocal Agreement with other surrounding cities in the region against SD1.

Other Notes:

Accountant John Chamberlain of Van, Gorder, Walker & Co. presented the city’s annual audit report, which remained in mostly good standing; the lone blip being the city building renovation ending past its deadline of June 30. “Based upon the construction project not finishing exactly but still within this year, we’ll have somewhat similar financial statements based upon accounts payable and things that have gone on with that construction project this year,” Hehman told council after Chamberlain’s presentation concluded.

City resident and Northern Kentucky University freshman Christian Miller presented to council on the difficult circumstances many universities across the nation are presently facing, like the Highland Heights campus. With NKU growing at its current rapid pace, Miller wants the state to adopt an outcome-based funding model, in which a school is judged upon what it produces. Miller said NKU’s ultimate goal would be to close the funding gap that widely exists amongst the Bluegrass State’s various institutions.

Concerning the long-awaited project to take place on the property formerly occupied by the Drawbridge Inn, Reddy told council she expects activity to pick up on it 4 to 6 months from now, adding that it is a conservative timeline.

Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor