Park Hills Approves Bonds for Condos, Officer for Covington Catholic
The City of Park Hills will move forward on placing a police officer at Covington Catholic High School and on the issuance of industrial revenue bonds for the Park Pointe subdivision project.
Some on council opposed the placement of a public police officer at a private school, while supporters argued that Covington Catholic would be paying for nearly off the associated costs, except for training and uniforms.
Mayor Kathy Zembrodt said that since the officer would be for the safety of the public, the small amount to be paid by the city would be justified.
City attorney Kyle Winslow said that he consulted with the Kentucky League of Cities, which said that public money must have a public purpose, and Winslow concluded that this new officer at Cov Cath would do that.
"There is no constitutional issue," said Councilwoman Pam Spoor.
Councilman Joe Shields expressed reservations about the decision, as did Councilwoman Sarah Froelich.
"I think the school should pay for the whole thing," Froelich said.
Covington Catholic agreed to pay roughly 97 to 98 percent of the cost, with the city paying about $1,000.
Spoor said that Cov Cath and nearby Notre Dame Academy, another private school in the city, contribute to the city's coffers through payroll taxes, even if they are exempt from property taxes.
Sheilds also expressed concern about having additional pension obligations for a new hire, noting that even though Chief Cody Stanley hopes to hire a retired officer who would not re-enter the pension system, there would always be a possibility of needing to replace that officer with someone else.
The city needed to act swiftly in order for Chief Stanley to reserve a space in the training session that begins in May so that an officer could be prepared to assume the school resource officer role at Cov Cath when the new school year starts in August.
Otherwise, there would be no training until the end of the calendar year.
Council members Spoor, Wes Deters, and Steve Elkins voted in favor of a resolution allowing Chief Stanley to proceed. Froelich voted against the resolution while Shields ultimately abstained, citing work that he had done for Cov Cath. Councilman Kevin Theissen was absent, so the resolution was adopted 3-1.
An actual contract between the city and the school would be up for a vote in May.
Council also voted to proceed with a memorandum of understanding for the Park Pointe subdivision that is going in at the former site of Gateway Community and Technical College, on a hilltop that straddles the Covington-Park Hills line.
The agreement was necessary for the issuance of the industrial revenue bonds.
Froelich was the lone vote in opposition to the bonds issuance.
An associate issue, authorizing the execution of and agreement in lieu of taxes with Condoview, LLC, the official business name used by developer Joshua One in development of Park Pointe, also passed, again with Froelich voting no.
Another resolution agreed to the closure of the part of Amsterdam road which is in Covington. Covington is in the process of closing its part of the road, too.
Mayor Zembrodt led discussion about the issue of a stop sign at Alhambra and Old State. Most of the council members seemed to be in favor of the stop sign. The issue will be revisited at the next meeting.
Zembrodt also introduced the subject of not having so many caucus meetings.
She said one of her campaign promises was to be respectful of peoples' time, and she said that May's caucus usually conflicted with Memorial Day, and November and December tended to be canceled because of the holidays, so she wanted everyone to think about if the city should just cancel those outright.
No decision was made.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor