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Ft. Wright to Proceed with Amsterdam Road Project

Ft. Wright city council will continue its legal battle to have the state pension systems for state and local workers separated.

The state system is poorly funded while the local one (CERS) is better off. The city lost a recent court ruling, but council went into executive session on Wednesday night to determine next steps.

"My instinct is to keep fighting," said Mayor Dave Hatter. "I think we should take it to the mat. But it is up to council."

Council opted to take no action, so the lawsuit will continue.

Council also voted in support of an agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to start the Amsterdam Road project.

The $3 million project will reconstruct the roadway between Redwood and General drives and add a sidewalk. Right-of-way acquisition and other preliminary work is already completed. The remainder of the project, which is being funded by the state and also the city through a federal grant, will be put out for bid.

City officials don't expect the project to continue until this fall, according to City Administrator Jill Bailey.

Mayor Hatter said that residents who live near that portion of Amsterdam should expect difficulties during construction but that when it is complete, it will have been worthwhile.

However, because the process is slow with state and federal funds involved, the project probably won't start until after September, according to a guess by CAO Jill Bailey.  Mayor Dave Hatter added that once it begins, the project will be troublesome for residents who live near the portion of road, but the end result will be very much worthwhile.

The search for the next police chief is ongoing, Mayor Hatter said. Fifteen applications were received and will be reviewed by the mayor, Bailey, and Kenton County Sheriff's Deputy Pat Morgan.

A second review team will include the human resources committee of city council and Police Captain Jonathan Colwell, who is serving as interim chief.

"We want someone who is an excellent fit," said Hatter.  "My hope is that we can fast track this process, and have a candidate in two to three weeks."

Council approved a zoning amendment to allow storage unit businesses as a conditional use. 

A special resolution was adopted in honor of Doug Lankeit, who has spent the last 40 years volunteering as a firefighter in the city.  

The resolution was framed and presented by Mayor Hatter, and then Fire Chief Steve Schewe presented him with his helmet, his third, he commented, and a shadow box marking his career.

"I have had nothing but great times up here," Lankeit said. His family and firefighters were on hand to support him.

"Forty years is an amazing amount of time," said Mayor Hatter.

Paramedic/Firefighter Lieutenant Regis Huth was present as he was introduced as the newest member of the fire department.  

Part-time member paramedic/firefighter Brian Brownfield was introduced but he could not be present.

The new city clerk, Maura Russell, was also introduced.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor