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Erlanger Moves Closer to Reducing Number of Council Positions

After years of debate, the Erlanger city council took a step closer to reducing its numbers last week.

In fact, it took two steps in that direction.

There are currently 12 elected members of the city council, the largest of any local government.

Last Tuesday, Councilmember Rebecca Reckers introduced a measure to reduce the number to 9.

Then, Councilmember Diana Nicely introduced a measure to reduce the number to 7.

The full council ultimately approved both pieces of legislation in their first readings, with second readings and possible formal adoption scheduled for its next legislative meeting.

City Attorney Jack Gatlin explained that if both measures are adopted, the one reducing the council to seven members would be the law.

Councilmember Vicki Kyle asked if they could discuss this matter further, because she felt like it was moving too fast without any discussion. 

Mayor Jessica Fette said she would add it to the caucus meeting agenda where it could be further discussed.

Councilmember Don Skidmore said that it was too drastic, and thought the number should be reduced to 11, but he didn't demand legislation for that number.

Reckers said that the window for filing to run for the council positions opens in November, so she wanted the number established before then.

Councilmember Tyson Hermes asked if they could include discussion about term limits in addition to reduction of council at the caucus meeting.

Lucy Riffle, a longtime Erlanger resident and educator, spoke about the importance of a diverse selection of people on council, and said with the diversity of residents in the city, that eclectic nature should be matched on council. She said that the city has never been at a loss for people who want to run for council, and she hasn't heard a good reason why they should reduce the number.

Riffle said she was appalled that this issue was being hammered at again, so soon after council voted it down several times. She said it was similar to "asking Mom, and not liking the answer, so asking Dad".  

"Can we not accept the decision of council?," she asked.

In other business, council considered legislation related to chickens.

Currently, residents are allowed to keep chickens as long as they are 500 feet away from other residences.

The new legislation, which received a first reading, residents would be allowed to have up to six chickens (no roosters) and must keep them 50-feet or more away from other residences.

Again, Councilmember Kyle asked for discussion on this issue at the caucus meeting, saying it came up suddenly, and she didn't feel comfortable without discussion. Councilmember Jennifer Jasper-Lucas agreed with Kyle.

The bid for public street striping and markings went to First Star Safety for $27,311.68. The bid for resurfacing the playground at Flagship Park went to Bluegrass Recreation for $200,359.67.

The business spotlight was on the Erlanger Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Tony Schumann, an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, gave a run down on what the hospital does, and how they help dogs and cats, as well as the other unusual pets that are brought into the facility.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor