A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington City Commission recommends policy priorities for next fiscal year; includes list of 20 topics

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

It’s about being held accountable, Mayor Joseph U. Meyer said at the regularly scheduled city commission meeting Tuesday night.

It’s about not forgetting what you’ve promised to improve. It’s about making a list and checking things off as you accomplish them.

The Mayor and commissioners are recommending policy priorities for the city for the next fiscal year, asking the city manager and staff to provide recommendations on these 20 topics over the next 12 months:

  1. Policy that describes the circumstances and extent to which private use of city­owned computers and cellphones, and the city’s wireless system and email system, is appropriate.
  2. An Open Records policy that provides direction and interpretation of the application of the open records law for use by the records custodian in responding to open records requests. The policy should also address record-keeping and publication requirements for open records requests and responses.
  3. Record retention policy consistent with state law and procedures for management for the city’s records (Electronic Document Management System).
  4. Total Cost Reduction Initiative, to recognize and reward employees who recommend cost saving changes in city operations.
  5. Amend and update personnel ordinance (0-42-16). Correct the weaknesses in the current ordinance. Review the system of job establishment, job description approval and hiring. Revise salary classification schedule. Updates of the salary classification schedule can be independent of changes to the personnel ordinance.
  6. A city-wide Economic Development Strategy. Address whether the city should require a developer who receives city financial support in excess of $100,000 to solicit bids from Covington businesses who have signed up with the economic development department.
  7. Industrial Revenue Bond policy, identifying issuance and conditions criteria.
  8. Zoning Code revisions.
  9. Review the operations of the Tax increment Financing District
  10. The appropriate use of the Covington “C” and the official city seal.
  11. Review the Procurement Policy for adopted by the commission (two policies on the public drive; one adopted by the commission, a later updated version developed by staff without commission action).
  12. Finance Policies and Procedures, to address the issues raised in the city’s audit(s).
  13. Financial Management ordinance to set the rules and provide guidance for the city manager’s authority for budget changes; requirements for issuance (regarding) RFPs, etc., grant applications, submission of contracts requiring commission approval; authority to approve change orders not to exceed 10 percent of original bid without commission approval and requiring regular status reports on capital projects to the commission; and financial reporting to the commission.
  14. Continuation or revision of the Fiscal Stability Ordinance.
  15. A comprehensive housing policy for the city, addressing the use of vacant city owned parcels, the availability of affordable housing in high growth areas, the continuation of the consortium with HAC and considering use of NIP as a delivery vehicle.
  16. Code Enforcement policies and procedures.
  17. Building Code issuance: Return to the city from PDS as a means of improving customer service and better support for mixed use and housing rehabilitation in the city.
  18. Revision of the “Good Standing” ordinance (0-11-06) to address urgent needs in the event of health, safety, welfare or other emergency considerations.
  19. For the waste collection contract with Rumpke, bring customer service complaints and oversight back to city government.
  20. Sidewalk repair policy.

Meyer stated again that these are just topics, and that city staff can make recommendations on how to proceed with them. He even said some may not require action, while City Manager David Johnston noted that many of the goals are already being investigated and worked on.

The Mayor also noted this may not be an all-inclusive list. In fact, several additions were discussed Tuesday night, including adding a debt management item to the list, as well as creating a multiyear, financial management plan for the city.

Commissioners wondered if Johnston could attach a timeline to each of the tasks, and he agreed, adding that he could also provide a monthly update on the city’s progress.

Commissioners agreed to further discuss the ideas at next week’s legislative meeting.

Also Tuesday:

  • Commissioners agreed to enter into a contract to expand the Footsteps2Brilliance early literacy program and make it available to all children in Covington. The contract is for three years at a cost of $50,000, plus $5,000 per year for training. After three years the license is perpetual. “Footsteps2Brilliance is a reading app used in the public and parochial schools in Covington for the past two years, paid for by Covington Independent Schools,” city documents stated. “The city’s picking up the cost will allow for uninterrupted continuation of the app in the schools and expansion of the app to the pre-school and day care centers, to individual parents, and to students at Taylor Mill Elementary, which serves South Covington students.” Mayor Meyer said a special meeting with all parties involved will be held July 25 at City Hall.
  • Jen Barnett, of Keep Covington Beautiful, presented to the commission Tuesday night, telling them what the organization has done over the past year, as well as what it plans to do in the future. Among the highlights of last year, the organization: educated 170 children, volunteered for 2,919 hours, collected 23,430 pounds of recycling and litter, and hosted 31 cleanup and beautification events. Next year, the group plans to (among other things) start a campaign to reduce single-use plastics, coordinate more area cleanups for areas in need, and work with the city, as well as local bars and restaurants, to improve the quality of recycling.
  • Commissioners agreed to renew a contract with ABM Parking Services for parking management and enforcement services, effective Aug. 01, 2018. Johnston said the city’s new Parking Authority does not have the “time or experience” to handle an RFQ, calling this an “education year” where responsibilities are still being transitioned. He said he expects this responsibility to transition to the Parking Authority sometime before the New Year.
  • Mayor Meyer said he would like to use next Tuesday’s meeting to recognize longtime Covington resident — and 37-year member of the city’s Urban Design Review Board — Vic Canfield, who is retiring.
  • Commissioners ended the meeting by going into Executive Session to discuss “pending litigation,” the Mayor said.

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., July 17, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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