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Covington Renews Parking Contract & Other Notes from City Hall

ABM will continue to operate parking lots and garages owned by the City of Covington and will also enforce its parking meters after being awarded a new contract by the city commission on Tuesday night.

The contract awarded in 2010 expires on August 1.

The City received four bids (ABM, Standard Parking, Republic, and Town Park) and created a review panel to evaluate the offers before unanimously suggesting ABM. The company's new contract was unanimously approved by the city commission, too.

According to Community Services Manager/City Engineer Mike Yeager, ABM was selected again because its monthly management fee would drop from $5,000 to $3,650, transitional issues would be avoided, the general manager at ABM was deemed most qualified, its maintenance costs (such as snow removal) are included, and its maintenance plan was much more detailed.

Yeager said that upgrades to ABM's services such as handheld units used to monitor meters, pay by phone options for people parking at meters, and the new meters that allow for fifteen minutes free, also aided in the decision.

The City, in addition to the monthly fee, covers ABM's operating expenses but still turned a profit last year.

Automating the city-owned garages reduced labor costs by $72,000, the new immobilization (or "booting") program for illegally parked vehicles brought in $21,000, and overall, the City netted more than $600,000 in parking revenues.

Finance Director Bob Due said parking revenues are up 33%.

City to offer online option for property tax payments

Due also presented on a new website currently under construction that will allow residents to pay their property taxes online.

"This will make our operation more efficient because we won't be answering as many questions through phone calls, fax, and email," Due said.

Modernizing the finance department was one of the main priorities in reorganizing it last December when vacant positions were eliminated and new managerial roles were established.

Reclassifying employees into new management roles in the department was opposed by two members of the city commission in March, but Due said it would allow for better service.

"We would like to provide more online access to to finances and better tools for forecasting," he said. at the time "There's so much more as a department we can do." Due added that other cities the size of Covington have staffs similar in size to what he is requesting.

With the new website, to be launched in September, residents will be able to view the status of their bills and pay them online.

"We hope to build on it to encompass other payments," Due said.

There will be minor fees associated with the online transactions depending on which option a resident selects. 

"We're very excited and busy at work on it," Due said.

"We always get excited when we make it easier for people to pay their tax bill," said City Manager Larry Klein.

Other notes:

  • New John Deere 8700 4WD Fairway Mower will be purchased at a cost of $50,920 from the Devou Park budget.
  • Robert Hengge resigned from his part-time code enforcement position to take a job at a law firm. Hengge has a law degree. Thomas McDaniel was hired in the position and is a former police chief in Hamilton, Ohio.