Skip to main content

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune journalist

COVINGTON – Chris Stapleton is from Kentucky and one of the most successful contemporary stars in country music. His latest single, the poignant “Starting Over”, set radio stations on fire, and it contains these verses:

“It may not be an easy time,
There are rivers to cross and hills to climb… ”

And

“Someday we’ll look back and smile.
And know that every mile was worth it.

That could perfectly describe what the Covington Commission thinks about the IRS Project, which they decided to rethink on Tuesday night at their regular caucus meeting.

Commissioners put three items on next week’s consent agenda that will wipe the slate clean and give them a new opportunity with the project:

• Rejected is a request for qualification for the removal of hazardous materials.

• Canceled is the request for qualification for demolition.

• Canceled is the request for qualifications for design and engineering services.

Acting City Manager Ken Smith apologized to those who had been considered for the jobs, and said officials needed to move forward in a way that “really reflects what the city needs and wants ”.

“I keep hearing that this is a once in a lifetime project,” Smith said. “Let’s do it right.”

The city bought the site in March for $ 20.5 million, and since then Covington has struggled to manage the project. They first entered into several demolition and design contracts when then-city manager David Johnston recommended certain options; the Commission decided not to follow these recommendations.

Then Johnston and the town went their separate ways for good two weeks ago. Perhaps it was no surprise, then, that the city decided to officially start over.

“No project is more important,” said Mayor Joseph U. Meyer at the time. “We only have a bite of an apple to get it right.”

New fire station

Due to the impending expiration of a grant, commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday night to approve the purchase of a property at 401 Crescent Avenue as the future home for a new fire station .

The purchase, which cost $ 500,000, had to be executed quickly because the city is eligible for a local government grant of $ 264,000 – a grant that expires on June 28. After approving the purchase, the city will pay $ 5,000 and sign a “condition sheet”. Which will allow authorities to do their due diligence on the property.

“In order to conserve funds, we have to act quickly,” Smith explained.

Thus, the city, which met in caucus Tuesday evening, interrupted this meeting and entered into legislative session to vote on this question, which was approved unanimously.

Commissioner Ron Washington said he recently visited the Company 2 site – and it wasn’t a good scene.

“It’s sub-standard,” he said.

Smith agreed. “It’s far from ideal.

“I’m glad we’re moving forward,” Washington said. “I am happy that we are purchasing this site. “

Scott Street Contract

Smith said the city has requested a “due diligence” extension in contact with the Scott Street property that the city is exploring as the future home of City Hall.

However, the city has yet to hear back from the owners on whether they will grant the extension. Smith said the city must continue to investigate the property and that if they don’t get a response from the owners, they will have to cancel the contract.

In May, commissioners agreed to purchase the properties at 620 and 622 Scott Streets, currently owned by the Gateway Community & Technical College Foundation, Inc., for $ 550,000 in hopes of building a new town hall. on the site.

The Scott Street sites were originally going to house the Gateway Urban Education Campus, but the new owners and managers decided not to embrace the idea.
“It will be good to have a permanent home,” said Mayor Meyer at the time.

Policy for the management and use of technological resources

The commissioners decided to reject a proposed policy for the management and use of technological resources.

Why? Mayor Meyer had a few thoughts.

He said these policies must do three things:

• Give people clarity
• Improve management
• Make sure the Commission has approved them all, according to state law.

Apparently, the current policy not only did not do these things, but was also incorrect on other matters, including:

• Provide definitions for open files and public files, which the mayor said the city probably shouldn’t do.
• Designation of the use of private technology by municipal officials as the subject of open cases.
• Saying procurement procedures require four weeks notice from IT – which Mayor Meyer says, “creates bottlenecks and problems”.

“We have a lot of work to do to clean them up,” he said. “It has been a hot topic for several years here. It is time to fix this problem.

New employees

Commissioners heard proposals for several new hires, which were put on next week’s consent agenda, including:

• Assistant to the municipal lawyer Emilee Buttrum
• Legal Operations Analyst Logan Todd
• Police officer Mitchell Matuz

Facade grants and incentives

Commissioners heard several proposals for grants and facades, which they put on the approvals agenda for next week, including:

• Rent Incentive Subsidy – Durham Brand & Co.
• Rent Subsidy Incentive – East to Vest Productions LLC
• Rent Incentive Subsidy – Sohza Sister LLP
• Rent subsidy bonus – Winecats LLC / The Bottle Shop
• Forgivable Facade Incentive – Christopher Green
• Forgivable Facade Incentive – Tischbein Properties LLC
• Forgivable Facade Incentive – Women’s Crisis Center Inc.
• Forgivable Facade Incentive – Sandra Stonebraker

Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the Covington Commission will be a legislative meeting at 6:00 pm on June 29 at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. Meetings can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Northern Kentucky Telecommunications Council (TBNK) website, TBNK @TBNKonline Facebook page, and TBNK Roku channels.