Notes from Covington City Hall

The Covington City Commission met for a legislative meeting on Tuesday night. Here is a recap of the issues that came before the city's governing body:

12 firefighters added to staff, EMS director named

"This is an excellent group of recruits," said Dan Mathew, chief of the Covington Fire Department. "We're excited."

The city commission approved the employment of twelve fire recruits in a unanimous vote on Tuesday. "This additional twelve (in the fire department) will help us balance our budget and will help us stop spending so much overtime money," Mathew said.

The recruits, who are still subject to pending medical physical results, will now head to training for a period of ten weeks and will be ready to clock in after that, right around the time veteran members of the department are set to retire in the late summer. The recruits are Neil McKinley, Matthew Archer, Kurt Thomas, Joseph Vance, Kyle Masson, Jordan Warner, Brandon Kersting, Michael Bumpus, Glenn Caminiti, Zack Williams, Keith Goff, and Brian Moellinger.

Meanwhile, the city is still working on a plan to return Pumper One, housed at the department's Robbins Street headquarters, to service.

The city commission also approved the promotion of David Geiger to the position of emergency medical services director. He previously served as a paramedic lieutenant. Geiger replaces Mathew who held the position before becoming chief.

"If you see a spring in my step it's because I feel the administrative duty lifting off my shoulders," Mathew said.

Geiger will be paid $72,464 annually.

Budget: Covington in "historic position" to write its own future

An ambitious budget for next year proposes more public safety and new sidewalks & community assets. "It may seem too good to be true, but it is true." For the full story, click here.

SD1 leader defends proposed rate increase at Covington City Hall

Will your sanitation bill be going up? SD1's executive director defends proposed rate increase at Covington City Hall. For the full story, click here.

Gateway College closer to beginning construction in Downtown Covington

 Work on a building that is part of Gateway College's new urban campus is poised to begin. For the full story, click here.

"Booting" of illegally parked vehicles gets first reading

The company that manages the City of Covington's parking meters will be immobilizing some vehicles parked illegally, but only if the car is attached to tickets that have not been paid, according to assistant city manager and city solicitor Frank Warnock. The issue received a first reading on Tuesday and will likely be voted on at the next legislative meeting on June 11. The commission at that time will consider changing the city's code of ordinances to allow for what is commonly known as "booting" of vehicles. According to the city, the move would provide for more efficient collection of parking fines while also saving vehicle owners from the expense of towing and impoundment fees.

Work to begin on clean-up of Stewart Iron Works building

The city-owned Stewart Iron Works building (20 West Eighteenth Street) will undergo a sweeping clean-up. The city commission unanimously approved three bids on Tuesday to complete the work.

The city, in cooperation with Kenton County, purchased the building in 2009. In 2010, with the assistance of then-Congressman Geoff Davis, the city was awarded a $250,000 federal special project grant for renovation of the property. In 2011, the city was awarded a $200,000 federal Brownfield Clean-up grant. Another $40,000 in funds was allocated for match provided by a donation from the previous property owner for environmental clean-up.

No city funds will be used on the clean-up.

Environmental Demolition Group will perform asbestos abatement (contract worth $36,800) while Y.M. Sun Construction will handle slab membrane, selective demolition, underground plumbing, and topping slab (contract worth $201,400). RiverCity Glass (doing business as McAndrews Windows - Andy Glass) will replace the windows (contract worth $293,200).

A plan once existed to create a hub for social services agencies to be housed in the Stewart Iron Works building. "It's still a work in progress," Frank Warnock said.

Former Covington Police officer is newest addition to the force

Douglas Haubner is back on the Covington Police force. The 45-year old was previously employed here starting in 1990 and was named employee of the month five times. He was also a police officer in Elsmere and later served as a contractor in Iraq where he was assigned to protect such dignitaries as Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and other American diplomats and politicians.

"I still have years left," Haubner joked. "I had a good time when I was down here and I look forward to coming back."

New vehicles added to city fleet

The commission unanimously approved three separate items involving the purchase of new vehicles. $82,287 from the capital improvements fund will be used to acquire three new 2013 Ford F350 crew cab 4x4 pick-up trucks from Crossroads Ford Lincoln. The purchase allows the fleet to be upgraded and one of the trucks will be assigned to the property maintenance division that is responsible for board-ups, litter patrol, and lawn maintenance for code enforcement-related functions. According to the city, these funds are available from savings within the recent code enforcement reorganization.

$249,401.40 from the city's capital improvement fund will be spent on five 2013 Ford Police Interceptor sedans and five 2013 Ford Police Interceptor AWD utility vehicles. These vehicles will upgrade the fleet at the police department. The contract was awarded to Crossroads Ford Lincoln which also won the other contract worth $160,724 from the city's capital improvement fund that will go toward the purchase of four 2013 Ford F550 super cab 4x2 pick-up trucks.

City-owned vacant lot to be sold

The city will put up for sale a vacant lot located at 4209 Decoursey Avenue. The commission voted unanimously to declare the real estate as surplus property and authorized its sale by sealed bid. At least one adjacent neighbor has expressed interest in buying it but the property is up for sale to all interested parties. The city said Tuesday that disposing of the vacant lot allows for potential re-use by an abutting property owner and places it back on the city's property tax rolls.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: David Geiger, Covington's new director of EMS/RCN