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Erlanger Creates Online Transparency Program, Accepts Bid for Sidewalk Work

The City of Erlanger is looking to increase transparency.

Other cities in Northern Kentucky have adopted a program called OpenGov, a digital service that allows citizens to track city expenses and other government-related items.

But, Erlanger evaluated its options and decided that the program was too expensive.

This week, Mayor Tyson Hermes announced a working name for a program created in-house, See Erlanger.

The public will be able to view all city transactions and the inner workings of the government. 

City Administrator Matthew Kremer gathered knowledgeable people to create the program to promote transparency.

At this week's meeting, Hermes presented a slideshow to show the public how to use it.

Meanwhile, city council set its property tax rate at $0.323 per $100 of value, and $0.565 per $100 of value for personal property. This marks the fourth straight year that city taxes have been reduced, Hermes said.

City council also voted to change the start-time for monthly committee meetings. Typically, they would begin at 6:30 p.m., a half-hour before the regular city council meeting. But Hermes said that too often residents would show up at 7 hoping to see the committee, and then accuse the city of moving the meetings.

The matter was approved with two dissenting votes among the 12-member council.

Councilwomen Connie Pitts and Kathy Cahill voted against it. 

The legislation also included a set of regulations for committees, and confirmed the city's ability to ask for "divine guidance" before meetings, offered by clergy or laymen.

All who are present at the meetings are requested to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, as well.

Additionally, the city received four bids for concrete removal and replacement for four streets: Alpha, Beta, Kelli, and Michelle. The lowest bid of $336,492.50 was received from JPS Construction, and Jim Viox announced that it is more than $65,000 under budget.

Other notes:

September 5 was declared Jim Viox Day, to honor the fifty years that the company as served the city as engineer.

September 22 was declared Erlanger United Methodist Church Day. It is celebrating its tenth year of 120 Manna Mission meals, which have served more than 8,000 people. The church also provides groceries to struggling families through the help of Master Provisions.

It was announced that the Erlanger Police Department was awarded their fourth Accreditation as a department last month.

Steve Bodde's financial report was acknowledged for a certificate of achievement award for excellence in financial reporting from the Government Financial Officers Association. The city has received the award for many years.

Councilwoman Jessica Fette told council that the Erlanger Business Council is doing so well that it has changed its meetings schedule from monthly to weekly. She said the first, second, and third weeks will be community meetings focused on networking, while the fourth week will have speakers, and if there is a fifth week it week it will be a social meeting.

Mayor Hermes announced that Boy Scout Troop 239 from Mary Queen of Heaven was present at the meeting with its members working towards their Eagle rank.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor