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Covington commissioners consider helping residents with backflow valves, hear ARPA project proposals

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

The city is considering providing assistance to property owners who need “Backflow Preventer Valves” to eliminate basement flooding due to sewer backups during heavy rains.

During their regularly scheduled caucus meeting Tuesday night, Commissioners heard a proposal that would allow the city to partner with the Sanitation District to promote the Backflow Preventer Valve program. But this time, Covington would offer financial assistance to those impacted property owners, which officials hope would encourage more residents to participate.

“SD1’s Backup Assistance Program is designed to provide financial relief to property owners dealing with wet weather sewer backups in their homes or businesses,” the Backup Assistance Program Procedures reads. “It provides up to $10,000 in assistance per approved property for installing a ‘backup solution’ — a mechanical device that can prevent wet­weather backups. A typical solution costs less than $5,000. Covington Property Owners who have experienced a wet-weather sewer backup in their home or business are eligible to participate in the City of Covington Backup Assistance Guarantee Program that will provide basement cleanout and other services if the backup solution fails.”

Next week, the proposal will be divided into three separate orders: The procedures, the agreement and the policy — and they will all appear on the regular agenda during next week’s legislative meeting.

“Next week, we are taking very significant steps in the implementation of the MS-4 program and the backup assistance program,” said Mayor Joseph U. Meyer. “This is really a cause for some celebration — a notification to the public that these things are coming.”

More ARPA Projects

Commissioners heard proposals for more American Rescue Plan Act projects:

• $455,000 for expanding and monetizing the public WiFi system.

• $100,000 for pedestrian improvements in the Eastside, including at MLK, Wheeler, Prospect and Beal. 

• $85,000 for Be Concerned, for English as a Second Language Program Expansion. It will have a Sept. 1 start date, and Be Concerned anticipates assisting 300 households.
• $500,000 for the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky for building emergency capital improvements at all DeVou Park campus buildings.
• $45,000 for the Center for Great Neighborhoods for Tax Return Look Back Program. CGN anticipates assisting 300 households.
• $100,000 for the Legal Aid of the Bluegrass for a Financial Literacy and Legal Representation Program. Legal Aid of the Bluegrass anticipates assisting 600 individuals.

All were placed on the consent agenda for next week’s legislative meeting.

Role consolidation

Commissioners heard a proposal by City Manager Ken Smith to consolidate the roles of Administration Director and the Assistant City Manager.

“When the city was reorganized to reflect service departments and support departments, an Administration Department was created,” city documents say. “It consisted of IT, HR, Analytics, Communications and Grants. This department has never had a director which resulted in the five divisions reporting directly to the City Manager. (I)n an effort to improve management and reduce the number of direct reports to the City Manager, staff is recommending that the role of Administration Director be incorporated into the duties of the Assistant City Manager.”

The request was also put on the consent agenda for next week.

Brent Spence Project Coordinator

Earlier in the summer, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet partnered with the city and agreed to reimburse the city up to $500,000 to hire a Covington Project Director to coordinate with them on the Brent Spence Bridge project for the next five years.

Tuesday night, Mayor Meyer announced a proposal that the hire would be Rick Record, of RL Record, LLC, who has already been working with the city for a few months.

The request was also placed on the consent agenda for next week.

Read Ready Covington

Commissioners heard a request to execute a $48,000 professional services agreement Mary Kay Connolly the fifth year of the city’s Read Ready Covington early literacy initiative.

The request was put on the consent agenda for next week.

Hires, Appointments and Re-appointments

Commissioners heard these potential moves:

The hirings of Nolan Dismukes, Code Enforcement Inspector, Rob Farrell, Solid Waste and Recycling Enforcement Officer, and Celeste Hill Brockett, Recreation Specialist

The re-appointments of Crystal Courtney, Urban Forestry Board, Terry Hughes, Board of Trustees for City Employees Retirement Fund, Tom Hall, Police and Fire Pension Board, and Art Heeger, Police and Fire Pension Board

The appointment of Samantha Hedges, Code Enforcement Hearing Board.

All were placed on next week’s consent agenda.

Second Readings for Next Week

Commissioners will vote on these ordinances next week:

• An ordinance prohibiting illicit discharges and illicit connections to the city’s stormwater system.

• An ordinance amending chapter 50.13 of the Covington code of ordinances establishing the storm water and flood management fund to establish subordinate reserve accounts to support the backup assistance program and capital projects addressing the inadequacies of the combined sewer system.

• An ordinance for controlling construction site erosion and sediment control.

• An ordinance for post construction runoff control.

• An ordinance amending chapter 94, parks and recreation and public property, of the Covington code of ordinances.

Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Aug. 9, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in 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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One Comment

  1. Rene says:

    I would suggest that the program would go over better if @SD1 hadn’t placed in the contract that in order to get the backflow valves property owners forever give up their right to sue if @SD1 is negligent. Had @SD1 utilized their funds responsibly, the reasons for the city flooding would have been alleviated over time. Instead, they used the payments which, in part, were for repairs and improvements to build in other areas.

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