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Council Member Resigns in Park Hills, Resident Questions Trail Project

A member of Park Hills city council has stepped down.

L.F. "Skip" Fangman sent someone as power of attorney to the city to tender his resignation, citing health problems.

The process is not as simple as accepting a resignation, though, according to City Attorney Todd McMurtry. After researching the issue, McMurtry said that council would have to hold a hearing to remove Fangman from the board. Additionally, there is no set policy, he said, to replace a member of council so it would be up to the other members whether the 7th place finisher in the 2014 election should be appointed, whether candidates should be interviewed, or another method.

Resident Jason Reser just missed out on a spot on council after running an aggressive write-in campaign.

Before moving forward on that important issue, members of council took time to thank Fangman and his family for years of service to the City of Park Hills. Fangman was credited for the creation of Trolley Park and was noted, along with his wife, Millie, for planting flowers and beautifying the city. The Fangmans were called "icons" in Park Hills.

"I just wanted to give a shout out to them," said Councilwoman Pam Spoor. "Gratitude is important."

Meanwhile,  city council passed an ordinance creating caucus meetings every fourth Monday in January, April, August and November at 7 p.m. at the city building at 1106 Amsterdam Road. At the council meeting on Monday night the ordinance was read for the second time after the first reading last year, and the meetings are to begin this month, according to Mayor Matt Mattone, on the fourth Monday, April 25.

Council also passed a resolution promoting Jack Prater to the rank of sergeant in the police department.

City Engineer Jay Bayer touched on a project to put some concrete in back of the city building so that Duke Energy can get trucks back there whenever the power goes out. This brought Greg Johnson, a resident who lives close to where the concrete would be poured, to his feet in an unplanned protest of putting sidewalks and/or a bike path close enough to his house "to look in my windows," he said. Johnson knew there was a plan, but he asked council if they were in favor of it, and if they had approved the money for it.

He wanted to know if there were going to be public meetings to get residents' viewpoints.

"If the city has that much money they can buy the Johnson household and turn it into an ice ball stand," said Johnson. "I feel that many residents would like to spend the money on other things."

Mayor Mattone said the project was initiated last year, but nothing has really been done because there have been no solid proposals brought to council. Jason Reser, who has been working on the Parks and Recreation committee, said he had met with Joey Hood, who designs trails, and has had some initial talks with him, but nothing has gotten to the point of having public hearings on the topic, although he did get a number of $10,750 as a cost to put the trails in the whole city.

Councilwoman Spoor said that she had a certain area around Trolley Park in mind when they talked about sidewalks and trails, and if they had any meetings about the trails, she would make sure that Johnson would be invited. Reser said that he was hoping for planning sessions in May, June, and July so that grants can be written in August to try and acquire money to help defray the cost of the project.

"I think we are at the point of trying to prioritize, and the ultimate goal is to get walkability on our streets," said Mayor Mattone. "We will be doing it in proper order."

Councilman Greg Claypole told council he had been talking to sign companies about obtaining a sign to replace the original one at Dixie and North Arlington. He said one company told him they had three signs left over from last year, and it would save the city money to buy one at a cost of under $13,000. Spoor said she had a plan to put several plants on that corner, so council passed a motion to buy the sign and install the plants for no more than $18,500. The sign will be about 3 ft. tall by 7.6 ft. long and will be installed a little more south than the original sign by this summer.

The subject of the renewal of the trash contract with Rumpke was not decided, because the company had failed to get the necessary numbers to the city. Council discussed what to do if the numbers are not acceptable, and realized they might have to go out to bid again because the contract and renewals would be up in June.

Tree removal on Altavia will begin soon, but the low bid was given to a company which has put conditions into the contract that the city is not happy with. Jay Bayer said he would get with the company to see if they would retract the conditions, such as not being responsible for damage to driveways or lawns, and if they would not, the bid would go to the next highest bidder.

Story & photos by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Top photo: Jason Reser gave a report on the trails and bike paths, and resident Greg Johnson listened intently.
Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Jack Prater was promoted to the rank of sergeant.