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Commission Recap: Rental Inspection, Chickens, & More

As always, the most comprehensive coverage of the Covington City Commission and the decisions that affect you, is found right here at The River City News. Here are the highlights from Tuesday night's meeting:

Walgreen's gains approval, nineteenth century mansion to be razed

In a unanimous vote, the mayor and city commissioners overturned decisions made by the city's urban design review board which were against allowing a proposed Walgreen's to take the place of a nineteenth century mansion at one of the city's most prominent intersections. The mayor and commissioners sided with the Diocese of Covington and Anchor Properties in favoring the building's demise to make way for a suburban-style Walgreen's store. Full story: Walgreen's Project OK'd by Commission

Rental inspection program passes

Though there was opposition from several property owners, many of whom wore red shirts and passed out copies of a River City News article before the meeting, the rental inspection program passed unanimously. Beginning January 15, rental property owners will need a rental license for their units and each property will be subject to interior inspection if a violation (called a "trigger") occurs. Those triggers include broken windows, damaged roof, damaged or missing gutters, damaged or rotted stairs or porches/balconies, grass or weeds over ten inches in height, damaged exterior walls, and prohibited garbage set-outs. Building owners can be cited by inspectors for the violations or the rental licenses could be revoked if violations are not corrected. Each inspection will cost $30. Additionally, the city is working with the three Northern Kentucky counties to create better access to a database of prospective tenants so that property owners can better screen their apartment applicants.

Chickens can be raised in Covington

You are now allowed to raise chickens for non-commercial purposes on your property in Covington. No crowing fowl will be allowed. Full story: Chickens May Soon Be Permitted in Covington

Finance department reorganized

The number of positions in the finance department was reduced from 13.5 to 12.5. Two positions are currently vacant and the new plan eliminates the position of one them, the assistant finance director, while creating three new manager positions: manager of accounting/operations, manager of revenue/collections, and office/procurement manager.

City settles with communication consultants

The City of Covington settled with Fox Communications and will pay $38,000 to the consulting firm that a few years ago examined ways the city could save money in its communication services. Shortly after Fox was contracted, Cincinnati Bell arrived with a better price that was accepted. Fox sued for breach of contract. Assistant City Manager and City Solicitor Frank Warnock said that the city is still saving $60,000 even after the settlement.

City gets $10,000 check from Kenton County

A check worth $10,000 was presented to the city to cover some of the costs associated with the emergency response to Club Chef's warehouse in South Covington which was evacuated after a leak.

Arborist  and groundskeeper positions yanked from agenda

The hiring of a full-time arborist disappeared from the commission's agenda without full explanation. With it, the proposed hiring of some full-time groundskeepers also disappeared without explanation. Each of these positions was on the draft agenda sent out last week.

Quickies:

  • Covington Programs & Strategic Projects Manager Natalie Gardner was recognized for being named the Kentucky Recreation & park Society;s Professional of the Year. Prior to the reorganization at City Hall, Gardner was the parks & recreation director.
  • Anthony Jansen, Junior was hired as a police officer grade IV. He has been a patrolman/K9 officer with Highland Heights-Southgate. He is working toward a criminal justice degree from NKU.
  • Joshua Knoechel resigned from the fire department to pursue a career with the Cincinnati Fire Department.
  • Promotions were granted to Frank Glowatz from paramedic/engineer to engineer in the fire department, as well as Dennis New, Rick Smith, and Paul Thompson from driver to light equipment operator in the public improvements department
  • A 1999 Horton F350 ambulance was declared surplus property and put up for sale.
  • Jack Gore was reappointed to the city's urban design review board
  • An easement was granted to the Northern Kentucky Water District at 4397 Boron Drive. There is an existing water main which crosses over, through, and under city property with no recorded easement. The Water District requested to enter into an agreement to permit it to operate, use, maintain, repair, replace, reconstruct, enlarge, and/or remove a water main, water service lines and branches, and other facilities and appurtenances necessary from time to time for the furnishing of a water supply across the city;s property and to provide a fair allocation of the resulting expense.
  • The first 140 feet of an alley that runs south from East 24th Street between 119 and 123 East East 24th Street, will be closed so that the owners at 123 can have access to the rear of their property (owners on both sides of alleys have come to terms of an agreement)

Written by Michael Monks, Editor & Publisher of The River City News

PHOTO: Covington City Commission meets Tuesday night/RCN