Council hears proposed 2017 goals

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — Covington Council heard the village’s proposed goals for the coming new year during their meeting Monday evening, which covered a wide range of projects in each of the village funds.

“This is not the final goals,” Mayor Ed McCord said. McCord reiterated that these items were what the village was proposing to the council and that they were seeking the council’s input.

“These are things we wanted to present to you,” McCord said.

Of the numerous items they went over, they first mentioned tearing down the property at 137 N. High St.

During their last meeting, the council approved seeking bids to demolish this property the village previously deemed “structurally unsafe and a hazard.” Neighbors came forward during public comment at previous council meetings to discuss how the house at 137 N. High St. has damaged their home. According to those residents, the property is leaning on their home and causing damage to their property.

The reported owner of the home, John E. Longenecker, was given 30 days’ notice to demolish the property himself upon receipt of the letter. If Longenecker does not demolish the property, the village will demolish the house and charge Longenecker for the costs, which will be assessed on Longenecker’s property taxes.

The 30 days’ notice has since passed, and the village is taking the next step of figuring out how much it would cost to demolish the house. McCord, both at their previous meeting and their meeting Monday evening, stated that they are only exploring the cost of demolition. They are not yet committed to tearing down the building.

“We are not mandated … to remove that building,” McCord said.

If the village did decide to the demolish the house, the cost would be budgeted for 2017. The bids for the cost of the demolition have not yet been received.

Longenecker, currently of Laura, recently received fines from the Miami County Health Board for violations in regard to this home, according to Miami County Municipal Court records.

“Hopefully we can partner with the health department to get this resolved,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said.

The village is also looking to tear down a barn located at 110 S. High St.

“We’d like to get that torn down before it blows down,” McCord said.

McCord and Busse then went over how they would like to purchase an email server for the village government.

“We really need to set up our own email server and maintain it in-house,” Busse said.

Busse said that this was due to record-keeping demands. The cost would be between $10,000-$15,000.

For the Covington Police Department, the village is still working on purchasing a new speed trailer. They have received a donation of $3,500 from the Covington Community Chest and a commitment for another unspecified donation from the Optimist Club. The total cost for the speed trailer would be approximately $6,500.

The village is also seeking to purchase a new police SUV cruiser to replace a 2007 Crown Victoria. McCord said the 2007 Crown Victoria is on its last leg. He said that it is frequently undergoing maintenance, and when it is getting fixed, that leaves the department with only two cruisers.

Busse agreed the vehicle is on the end of its life as the vehicle needs to be able to keep up with police demands. The cost would be approximately $40,000.

“It really needs to make the budget this year,” Busse said.

McCord also brought up the idea of extending the School Resource Officer program through the summer to maintain a good relationship with kids during the break.

In the street fund, the village is considering the following repaving projects for summer 2017: Debra Street from Chestnut to Broadway, Chestnut Street from Debra, to Wenrick Street, and Ullery Street from Chestnut to Broadway.

For planning and zoning, the village is looking to update and revise village zoning maps, rezoning various areas of town to single-family residences, revise zoning regulations, and putting the zoning regulations on the village’s website.

For the water fund, the village is looking to replace a 1997 backhoe, continue the meter replacement program, establish a long-term maintenance agreement on the five million gallon water tower, and implement a utility connect to allow customers to view and pay their water, trash, and sewer bills online.

For the waste water fund, the village is continuing to apply for funding to rehabilitate three lift stations and three control panels at the Waste Water Plant as well as secure funding for and complete the first phase of construction for the plant.

For the trash fund, the village is considering purchasing 15 trash dumpsters to begin a dumpster service for multi-family residential customers as well as for commercial customers in the future. They are also going to continue considering low-volume trash programs.

Also for next year, the gas and electric aggregation programs are expected to begin sometime in the spring.

The council also completed the following items of legislation during their meeting:

• Authorized entering a mutual aid agreement with Montgomery County.

• Held the second readings of two ordinances to repeal and replace salary ordinances for the non-elected employees and Busse, which would give those employees a 1.5 percent raise for 2017.

• Waived the three reading rule and authorized creating a separate village fund for fire and emergency medical services for the recently voter-approved 2.5-mill levy funds to go.

• Held the first reading for a resolution to purchase the basketball courts, located near the former site of the Covington Middle School, from the Covington Board of Education at a cost of $1.

The village will also be holding the free Christmas dinner at the Covington Eagles on Dec. 10 from 4-6 p.m.

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336