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Round-Up: Sunday January 27

A Mainstrasse pizza place is closing; City's finances not as good as hoped for; Editorial: Time for Kentucky's US Senators to get new jobs? Here's what's making news around Covington and around the Commonwealth:

COVINGTON FIRE CHIEF FACING TIGHT BUDGET 

The city's fire department continues to deal with its slashed budget:

“My number one responsibility is to the citizens of this city and to my employees here at the fire department. It’s a hard-fought battle between me and the city administration to protect that, to protect them,” he said.

“I’ve got a saying on the wall in my office: ‘Mission. Men. Self.’ It’s a Special Forces creed. That’s how I live; the mission of the fire department comes first, the men and women of the fire department come second, and then I come last.”

Full story: Cincinnati Enquirer/Amanda Van Benschoten

CITY COMMISSIONER WARNS OF LESS MONEY THAN EXPECTED IN CITY'S COFFERS

Prompted by the above-linked article, Covington City Commissioner Steve Frank commented:

The City of Covington had its first Finance Committee (meeting) of the year. Since we run on a Fiscal Year of July 1 to June 30, this is the half way point in our budget year. We will soon be preparing our 2013-2014- budget. We made many changes in the last Commission under Mayor Charles R Scheper in order to save Covington from fiscal ruin. Based on an initial run through the first six months of the fiscal year I can tell you that the arc has turned and the city's finances are (beginning) to improve, but the rate of improvement still is not where we had hoped. I'll have more details later, revenue was as expected but the savings we wanted are slower in coming. We ended last fiscal year with about $400,000. That would have been zero if we had not done the tax amnesty proposed (by) Shawn Masters. We now have about $700,000 in the check book. At this point that number ought to have been closer to $1,100,000. If the City is in decent financial shape, it ought to have 5% of its budget in reserves. For a City with about a $50,000,000 budget, that means we need about $2,500,000 in the check book. We had that in 2008 and thanks to prior Commissions. That is what saw us through this downturn...it's a rainy day fund. We have another fund called the self insurance fund. When the City is sued, we have a fund set aside to pay those claims. Guess what it is at zero balance...lint...nada... So our Rainy Day Fund is $1.7 million dollars light. Our Self Insurance Fund is $1 million dollars light and the last piece of the puzzle, our Capital Budget... the money to fiz streets and levee's and buy equipment that has a $30,000,000 deficit.

FATTY PATTY PIZZA TO CLOSE AFTER SUNDAY NIGHT

Sunday will mark the last day of operation for Fatty Patty, the pizzeria in Mainstrasse Village. The owners are moving out of town. Interested in any of their equipment? It's being auctioned online. Click Here to check it out.

They will be royally missed in my household! -Michael Monks, editor

HOLMES BASKETBALL PURSUIT OF PERFECTION WORTH WATCHING

The undefeated Holmes Bulldogs boys basketball team gets some love from the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Can Holmes become the first boys' basketball team in 24 years to reach the Sweet Sixteen undefeated? Jason Booher's Bulldogs have a shot. They are 21-0 with seven regular-season games left. If they run the table, then make it unscathed through their district and region tournaments, they will be 33-0 and headed to Rupp Arena. The last team to accomplish that was Bobby Keith's Clay County Tigers in 1989. They were 33-0 and No. 1 in the state going into the Sweet Sixteen. (They lost to Marshall County in the first round.) In 1982, Allen Feldhaus Sr.'s Mason County Royals took a 30-0 record into the state tournament. (They lost to Virgie in the quarterfinals).

Booher said dealing with a perfect record is new to him. "I've never been 21-0 before, so we're in uncharted territory," he said. "But going undefeated in the regular season is not our goal. Our goal is to get to Rupp Arena. That's what we're talking about — trying to be really good by the end of the season. We're trying not to worry about getting beat."

Full story: Herald-Leader/Mike Fields

MORE HEADLINES:

GROUP SEEKS TO OFFICIALLY FIGHT TOLLS ON BRENT SPENCE BRIDGE Cincinnati Enquirer

200 PATIENTS TREATED IN FIRST YEAR AT COVINGTON CLINIC Cincinnati Enquirer

FEDERAL FUNDS HELP FUND SCHOOLS ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS Cincinnati Enquirer

7 BILLS FILED IN FRANKFORT TO FIX PENSION SYSTEM

There will be no shortage of pension bills to consider when Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort in the first week of February:

Seven bills have been filed between the House and Senate to reform the legislative pension system, a plan that has caused only a portion of Kentucky’s pension troubles but is subject to widespread loathing in the public.

That’s because lawmakers use the system to pump up their legislative pensions as high as six figures in some cases.

The plan is part of the Judicial Form Retirement System, which faces close to $170 million in unfunded liabilities.

Full story: Courier-Journal/Mike Wynn

SEE ALSO: Tough issues plus hesitant lawmakers equals special year Herald-Leader

EDITORIAL: DO KY'S US SENATORS NEED NEW CAREERS?

Louisville's newspaper hits Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul in an editorial:

Both, in their own ways, rapidly are becoming an embarrassment to Kentucky and the nation — Mr. Paul, through some of his extreme positions and statements, and Mr. McConnell, through his determination to use any means, no matter how reprehensible, to secure another term in the Senate.

But their appeals to irrational fears, particularly of extremists in the gun lobby, are beyond embarrassing. They are disturbing and do not reflect the views of most Kentuckians when it comes to rational discourse and claims based in reality.

Full story: Courier-Journal

OTHER HEADLINES: 

CHANGES TO KY MEDICAID PROGRAM MAY LEAVE PATIENTS OUT OF NETWORK WAVE

NO NBA TEAM IS MOVING TO LOUISVILLE YET, BUT AN AGENCY HAS SOME LOGO DESIGNS FOR WHEN ONE DOES WFPL

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/01/24/2489238/high-school-notebook-teams-rare.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co#storylink=cp