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Ft. Wright Targets Rough Streets, Blighted Properties

Fort Wright City Council passed the Employee Salary Adjustment ordinance for 2015-2016 Wednesday evening, entitling city employees to a two percent salary increase, but those receiving a bump in pay will be made at Mayor Dave Hatter’s discretion.

City Administrator Gary Huff said the finance committee will revisit the city’s pay scale and recommend to council a reorganization of the scale to simplify its multiple levels of confusion. “What cities are doing it different or better,” Hatter asked of the scale. “This thing is three pages, it’s nuts.”

City Engineer Mark Brueggemann presented his five-year plan to council to aid many of the city’s damaged streets. “We do an observation of every street in the city and based on that observation we pair a condition rating. Based on those ratings, if a street is ranked worse than 70, the lower the score the worse shape the street is in, the higher the score, the better condition the street is in,” he said. “If the street is less than 70, then we consider that street to be a full-replacement. Seventy to 85, we consider it needing significant maintenance, essentially like a resurfacing. Anything above 85, we want to make sure there is minor maintenance that is occurring every year. It is extremely important that as part of our street program we put together, we have a crack seal program that we’re doing every year and on a three to four-year rotation where every street gets crack-sealed. That will save us in the long run a significant amount of money and really help make these streets last,” Brueggemann said.

“Part of the strategic plan is the streets that are in really bad condition…those have to be addressed. The streets that are in OK shape, where we can resurface them and get another 20 years of life out of them, we have to make sure we keep them in that category so they don’t fall into having to do the full-replacement category,” he said. “Our strategy is…one year we will do a replacement of the streets that are rated poorly. The next year, we are going to do a resurfacing program to keep those streets that are right on that cusp to keep them in the positive and then rotate based upon the needs.”

The engineer added that the streets are being categorized by location, not by their condition, as to get the “most bang for their buck,” when the repair work is taking place.

Other Notes:

Councilman Joe Averdick voiced his concern over the amount of blighted properties in the area with dead trees and weeds lining residential areas and business districts. Among his residential problem spots: 451 General Drive – weeds in the gutter; 447 Pickett Drive – dead tree lying in the yard; 321-323 Redwood apartment complex – dead tree left lying on the property for nearly a year; 22 Howard – chronic overgrown weeds in the front yard; 1428 Vidot – parked truck with sign advertised “we buy houses.” 

Eyesores of the business district: 1830 Dixie Highway (Substation II) – overgrown weeds and a dirty parking lot; 1840 Dixie Highway (side of Brooks Flooring) – weeds and downed tree limbs; Atlas Fitness – water flowing off the roof, in addition to no down spout; (former) Days Inn – dead trees on the Dixie Highway side of the property.

To curtail this problem, new ordinances from the city may be forthcoming.

Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor