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Park Hills Joins Pension Lawsuit, May Be Part of Duke Energy Research Project

The City of Park Hills is the latest Northern Kentucky city to join a lawsuit calling for the separation of Kentucky's retirement systems.

The lawsuit originated in Ft. Wright.

Mayor Matt Mattone said at the most recent city council meeting that cities are angry after the Kentucky Retirement System board of directors decided to place the burden of the forecasted $800 million shortfall on the backs of municipalities.

Park Hills expects a bill of of $67,000.

Mattone expressed concern that lawmakers won't explore other options, such as an increase in the sales tax.

City Attorney Todd McMurtry said that the state may seek to have the lawsuit tossed out, while continuing to invest pension funds in hedge funds. He said that Kentucky, unlike other states that have stopped the practice, continues to invest in hedge funds because it seeks a home run rather than a single.

With that information, council voted to join the suit.

Meanwhile, Duke Energy customers in the city may face a 15 percent rate hike. Mattone explained that households that typically pay $86 for 1,000 kilowatt hours will now pay $104 for the same amount. 

One possible benefit to the increase is that Park Hills may be a test city for underground wires, the mayor said. A study of the numbers of hours of outages in two specific areas of Park Hills may qualify to receive the underground wires if Duke decides to do that research.

Other notes:

Council passed an ordinance establishing a tree inventory, a prioritized list of trees, categorizing them into six groups, according to risk of disease in order to take out the worst before they fall down.

Mattone announced that the University of Kentucky would be using a grant to send ten to twelve students to Park Hills in the spring to inventory the city's trees. Students from UK did another inventory of this kind many years ago, and this new inventory will be able to be compared to the old one to see how many trees have been lost.

Councilman Greg Claypole said that the city is collecting pictures for a history book to be published about the city and is hoping to reach people who used to live in the city to see if anyone out there might have some pictures that can be copied.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor