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Tempers Flare at Dayton Council Meeting Over Code Enforcement Citations

Tempers flared at the Dayton City Council meeting Tuesday night when Dustin Fossette, a Dayton native who is currently in the process of renovating three separate properties in the city, complained about $3200 worth of fines against his properties.
 
"I have outstanding code violations, and I have until July 1 of this year to bring all three properties up to code," Fossette said. "In the case of the property I have finished I think I have far exceeded the expectations. I have been to a meeting where several people complained about their fines and got them waived. I have four or five buddies who are doing the same thing I am, and I think the city is spraying repellent against us!"
 
He went on to say that he thought City Administrator Michael Giffen considered him "common", "not special", and he said he didn't want to have special treatment, he just wanted the city to recognize that basically they were all trying to make the city a better place, and he shouldn't be punished with fines.
 
"I am self-funded," he stated. "I am trying to rebuild the city and cut down on rental property and increase homeowners. I am a positive influence, not despicable. I am not going anywhere."
 
City Attorney Tom Edge tried to answer Fossette after council listened to him, and Fossette cut him off and kept speaking over him, which Edge did not like and raised his voice to quiet Fossette. When Fossette would not stop, he asked Police Chief David Halfhill to remove Fossette from the room. Chief Halfhill told Fossette to calm down, and since he had had his say, he said Edge should be allowed to answer him.
 
"The city is happy that you're doing things to improve the city," Edge said. "However, you still have to follow code enforcement. The citations went to the addresses, and your failure to challenge those citations in a timely manner is why the fines have gotten so high. You have not followed any rules. Now your only option is to file a motion with district or circuit court to have a right of clear title."
 
Edge said the other people who had their fines waived filed their complaints right away. He told Fossette that his coming to air his grievance publicly was counterintuitive to his argument, and insulting to a degree, saying that the city has gone above and beyond to help him fix things.
 
Fossette left, but he was upset and promised he would be talking to Edge again, since he believed Edge was acting against the contract Edge had drawn up.
 
Other notes:
 
Council passed a second reading of an ordinance relating to the fines for animals that have to be caught and retained by the Campbell County Animal Control.
 
Councilman Joe Neary brought up an ordinance that relates to vacant property, and asked the building inspector if the ordinance was having any effect. Then, Councilman Jeff Volter asked if the ordinance, which requires owners of vacant properties to register their property with the city for a fee of $500 a year, applied to properties that are on the market to be sold. Neary thought it would apply, and Volter made a motion for council to revisit the ordinance, which was passed last summer. Council voted to revisit the ordinance.
 
Council also voted to accept the bid of $50 for the six Christmas figurines the city put out to bid. The sole bid was from St John's Church.
 
City Administrator Giffen told council that Bob Yoder had accepted the job of Main Street manager. When asked later if Yoder was the one he had in mind when he suggested that the Main Street manager position be removed from the city building and become a part-time contractor, Giffen said that yes, he was one of them, but council wanted the job to be a full-time position. Yoder has experience helping multiple Campbell County cities with grant initiatives. He will start in Dayton on Friday.
 
Dayton Independent Schools Superintendent Jay Brewer gave an overview of where the school system stood. He reminded council that the district is rated by the state as "distinguished". Brewer said the motto of inspire, engage, and grow was entwined in every facet of the educational process, and it showed in the numbers, which compared to those in the state, were very good.
 
Brewer told council that the next logical step was to boost the technology to match those of surrounding districts in having laptops for each student on a 24/7 basis. He said this goes along with the effort to create WiFi hotspots within the city, which cities like Newport are currently working to install. He also pointed out that the sports complex is lacking, particularly Davis Field, which does not stand up to other fields in the Northern Kentucky area. He wrapped up the presentation by giving each council member a pin designed by a student, which was given out on Veterans Day.
 
Another resident, Aryn Fox, came to talk to council about opening an Artisan Tattoo Parlor in the Main Street area, where it currently is not allowed. Colleen Carr spoke to council in favor of the business, asking council not to stereotype the business, arguing that it is very artistic. Fox said that the place she has in mind for the business is 618 Sixth Street, and she asked council to amend the zoning to allow her business in the Central Business District.
 
Council seemed to think it was a good business, and made a motion for Tom Edge to draw up the necessary changes to the ordinance and to send it to Planning and Zoning for review.
 
Bill Powell and Erin Swift, from the YMCA, came to give council an update on the programs they offer in the city, and to tell them they would be abandoning the building they had been renting that belongs to the city, to concentrate their efforts and programs within the schools.
 
The city does not know what they will do with the building.
 
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor