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Covington Commission hears proposals for second round of RIPPLE effects funding

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

While it appears that the problems associated with COVID-19 have delayed everything from entertainment to education, the local government hasn’t been immune either.

At the regularly scheduled meeting of the caucus on Tuesday, commissioners were able to hear a delayed proposal – the 2019-2020 RIPPLE Effect funding, which includes $ 200,000 in community development bloc grants carried over from previous years.

Jeremy Wallace, the city’s community development manager, stated that the RIPPLE program is a fully honored program that helps neighborhoods implement public improvement projects by coordinating city services. The effort helps beautify the area while working with the community.

“Part of that is public improvements, like street landscapes,” said Wallace, “while part of it is neighborhood activism as well.”

The city received two qualified applications for RIPPLE Effect funding, and a committee made up of representatives from community services, public improvements and business development examined them against evaluation criteria.

Wallace said the highest-rated application was “The Botany Hills Urban Junction,” presented by the Devou Good Foundation, which focused on the intersection of Highway Avenue and Altamont Street.

Possible public improvements include:

• Boarding light stops
• Tree planting
• Bicycle stand
• Garbage / recycling containers
• Dog poop stations
• Signs for the neighborhood portal
• Improvements to existing neighborhood signs / landscaping
• Improved zebra crossing
• Facade improvements on commercial buildings
• Repairs to the Parkway Avenue Bridge / Underpass / Access Steps

The Devou Good Foundation will provide $ 50,000 for the project, Wallace said.

The proposal was put on the approval agenda for next week’s Legislative Commission meeting.

Property tax due for second reading and voting

For the fifth year in a row, the city treasury has recommended that Covington taxes remain unchanged on real estate and personal property: .327 on every $ 100 appraisal of rated or assessable property; and .349 for each valuation of $ 100 of all valued or assessable personal property.

The city commissioners will hear a second reading at their legislative session next Tuesday evening and vote on the proposal.

Commissioners and finance officials have stated that they are actually making money from low and unchanged taxes – around $ 300,000 if you factor in the number of people upgrading or completely redeveloping properties.

The low taxes attract buyers who then come to town to upgrade the area.

The hiring of HR Director is proceeding

The commissioners heard a proposal to approve the appointment of a personnel director by September 13th. The candidate’s name and résumé were made available to the mayor and commissioners, but no one else, in order to protect the privacy of the potential employee.

The city announced the opening on July 1st and received 65 applications. A committee composed of the Interim City Manager, Assistant Police Chief, Fire Chief, Director of Public Works and Commissioner Tim Downing interviewed the top candidates.

The featured candidate holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Relations and Management from Trevecca Nazarene University, is a US Veteran and has 24 years of HR experience, including the last 11 in local government, where she served as HR Director since 2017 .” to say.

The proposal will appear on the approval agenda next week.

Board appointments

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer and the Commission proposed these appointments:

Starts 08/15/2021 – Ends 08/14/2024
Appointment of Michele Halloran

Starts 08/15/2021 – Ends 08/14/2024
Appointment of Rob Farrell

Starts 08/25/2021 – ends 12/15/2023
Appoint Pete Nerone

Duration: Starts 08/25/2021
Appointment of Ken Smith (Interim City Manager)

Leak parking lot on the riverside

Commissioner Ron Washington said he had heard many complaints about parking in the Licking Riverside neighborhood.

Ken Smith said he spoke to the group and they opted for a process where a group of representatives from the neighborhood would come up with some solutions to the parking problem which would then be forwarded to the city parking authority.

Relevant ideas would then be forwarded to the commission for consideration, Smith said.

Preliminary census figures discussed

Mayor Meyer released some of the census figures he received from the Louisville Courier-Journal.

He said the census showed the city’s population rose to 40,961, the largest in 80 years.

He also said the city has 1,000 newly inhabited housing units and that the poverty rate has fallen to 15 percent, while the average household income has increased 20 percent since the last census in 2015.

Commissioner Michelle Williams, who helped lead the Covington Census indictment, thanked everyone for their efforts.

Next meeting

The next regularly scheduled session of the Covington Commission will be a legislative session on August 24th at 6:00 p.m. in the City Building at 20 W. Pike St., Covington. The meetings can be followed live on Fioptics Channel 815, Spectrum Channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels.

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