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Covington commissioners approve budget in first reading, approve subsidies, honor Rev. Leo Schmidt

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

Covington’s fiscal year ’21 budget got a first reading Tuesday night, and, unlike last week, nothing further was questioned or discussed.

“We had a healthy 2½-hour discussion about the budget last week,” Mayor Joseph U. Meyer said in the commission’s regularly-scheduled legislative meeting Tuesday night.

He was referencing last week’s lengthy caucus meeting, which pushed three hours. But in fairness, there were things to consider — if approved, the next city budget will spend more than it brings in, forcing commissioners to dip into reserve funds to the tune of $1.7 million to make ends meet. It will be the first of a couple of years where the city is expected to struggle before seeing positive results, city officials said.

With a projected $57,624,900 in expenditures and $55,971,932 in revenue, it’s a situation Mayor Meyer admitted he was not pleased with, but something he said they would have to do, given the circumstances.

All in all, Meyer, along with the city’s Finance Director Muhammed Owusu, noted that the city has positioned itself well to be as close as it is to balancing the budget.

Meeting once again virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Mayor encouraged residents to look at the budget online and provide comments, which could then be discussed in the virtual setting.

The budget will have a second reading and an official vote at the next legislative meeting in two weeks.

Stop-Loss Coverage Order Passes 3-2

“This seems like this is going beyond what we need in terms of the city,” said Commissioner Tim Downing. Mayor Joseph U. Meyer agreed, and joined Downing in voting against an order that would add Stop-Loss coverage to the city’s medical plan with Sun Life Insurance, effective from July 1, 2020 thru June 30, 2021.

Commissioners Smith, Michelle, Bowman voted in favor.

City staff recommended taking an additional protection this year in the amount of $29,898 “due to the unknowns of future COVID19-related claims, especially with the new cases involving children,” a city document said. “Any claims involving children would likely be treated at Children’s Hospital where our discount is very low. This would protect us against any claims that do not meet the Stop-Loss threshold of $150,000.”

While the city does not anticipate the need, they admit that dealing with unknowns can make for difficult decisions.

“The premium is reasonable considering the potential cost,” documents say.

Economic Development Approved

Commissioners approved three economic agreements Tuesday night to provide:

• $14,500 in financial incentives to Milburn Realty 2, LLC for the development of the three-story, 7,500-square-foot building at 422 Madison Ave.

• $5,466 in a forgivable rent subsidy incentive for property at 525 W. 5th St.

• $4,800 in a forgivable rent subsidy incentive for property at 3616 Decoursey Ave.

Bluegrass Paving Awarded Resurfacing Bid

Commissioners approved Bluegrass Paving for the CDBG & Capital Street Resurfacing project for $505,713.

Rev. Leo Schmidt Honored

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Meyer took time to talk about a special person who passed away this weekend, someone who’d meant a great deal to the city.

Father Leo Schmidt

Rev. Leo Carl Schmidt, 91, of Fort Thomas and formerly of Cold Spring, passed away June 6 at Carmel Manor Nursing Home.

“We lost, this week, a person who was extremely important to St. Augustine Church and the Peaselburg neighborhood,” Meyer said. “On behalf of the city we express our condolences to his family and survivors and we appreciate his contributions to the Peaselburg neighborhood and the leadership and compassion that he showed for those many, many years.”

Schmidt served as the pastor at St. Augustine Church from 1992-2015 and Chaplain of the Covington Police Department in 1998.

Commissioner Bowman requested the city to draft a resolution to honor Schmidt, and Meyer agreed, asking for it to be ready for next week’s meeting.

Visitation will be held from 3-6:30 p.m., with a Vigil Service to follow at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 10 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. Visitation will also be held from 9-11 a.m. with the Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11 a.m., Thursday, June 11 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. Interment will take place at St. Joseph Cemetery, Cold Spring. Guests are encouraged to wear masks and abide by social distancing standards. Memorials are suggested to the St Augustine Church (Capital Campaign), 413 W. 19th St., Covington, KY 41014.

Next meeting

The next regularly-scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., June 16. Residents are encouraged to watch it online, and send in comments beforehand.

Meetings will be broadcast live through the TBNK’s cable and streaming outlets and available at:

Click here to watch the live commission meeting Tuesday

Click here to watch on the city’s website (click on “latest videos” just under the photos of the commissioners

Or watch:
Fioptics channel 815
Spectrum Channel 203

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