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Erlanger to Explore Future of City's Firehouses

What to do about Erlanger's firehouses?

City Council discussed the future of the facilities during a special meeting on Tuesday.

"The one firehouse, across from the city building, was built in the 1960's and it is sturdily built," said Mayor Tyson Hermes. "It is solid, like a bomb shelter. But there are two HVAC units on the roof that are going to need repair soon, and we need a committee to study the needs of the city so we know whether to put band-aids on the problems or renovate."

He went on to say that two firehouses, #1 on Graves Avenue and #3 near Narrows Road, are adequate to serve the needs of Erlanger residents, but everything needs updates or upgrades to keep up with national standards. Currently the fire station at Narrows is partially staffed, having four full time firefighters/EMTs instead of six. #1 is fully staffed and can respond  immediately anywhere in the city. #3 is newer and was built in the 1990's.

Hermes predicted that it would be easier for the city to come up with funds for renovating the existing facilities than to pursue new construction.

Council members Renee Skidmore, Gary Meyer, Don Skidmore, Tom Cahill will be on the committee to explore the issue. Some residents will be on the committee as well.

In the special meeting, an ordinance was passed into law which repeals all prior job descriptions and titles and establishes all new job descriptions and titles for all city employees and adopts a new amended pay plan for the new descriptions and titles. This affects approximately 62 titles and job descriptions.  In a related matter, Sherry Hoffman, Assistant City Clerk, was appointed to be Erlanger's City Clerk, by Municipal order, effective Monday, February 22.

Another ordinance was read for the first time which amends the Erlanger zoning ordinance to add 'vehicle towing and auto repair' as a conditional use within the Business Park One  BP-1. This is specifically for a 13-acre parcel of land off Dolwick avenue for a company which requested the change. The second reading will be at the regular March meeting.

Another municipal order was passed which allows an ambulance from the city to be sold to another governmental agency.

A third municipal order authorized a request for bids for the award of a three year non-exclusive franchise from the city for use of the public streets, alleys, and other public grounds for the transmission and distribution of natural gas and/or electricity within the city. Both Duke Energy and Owen County Rural Electric are public utilities and all utilities are required to have a franchise to operate within a city.

Mike Bianchi, a representative on the Board of Adjustments, has submitted his resignation, and Mayor Hermes appointed Rob Neuhaus as his replacement. Neuhaus will take the oath of office at a later date.

City Engineer Jim Viox explained that two road projects, on Riggs and Perimeter, were delayed because they both needed water mains replaced, but the project on Spring Valley was on track and he received four bids on the project, $531,601 from Straight Edge Construction, $535,290 from JPS Construction, $554,197.50 from MW Excavating, and $651,388.65 from Paul Michels and Son. Council voted to go ahead with the lowest bid on Viox's recommendation.

In the committee meeting afterwards, the idea of a new city logo was discussed and Mayor Hermes asked council to come up with a committee to discuss where to go with the idea of a new logo. Rebecca Hopkins had researched the idea and gotten several ideas, but then she resigned, and the project was put on hold.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor