COVINGTON — The discussion surrounding the possibility of restricting vehicle access in the Covington Park area continued at the Covington Council meeting held Monday night. That discussion was previously instigated by a resolution to repave the path at Covington Park, which has not taken place yet.
“We did have discussions with the Fort Rowdy people about driving in the park area and potential damage to the park,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said. “They’re very receptive to that.”
Mayor Ed McCord and Busse both mentioned that the baseball fields were a particular area conducive to damage.
“I am concerned that by widening that walking path… that people are just going to feel free to drive down there,” Council Member Joyce Roberston said. “We might want to consider putting something there that would keep people from just driving through there.” Roberston added that it could be “something that’s removable” in order to allow vehicle access during festival times.
Other council members questioned whether such an item was necessary.
“Is it worth bringing another thing we got to do?” council member Bud Weer asked.
Currently, the path is not blocked off for vehicle access.
“I’m not convinced we really have a problem,” Weer said.
“Aren’t we inviting trouble by widening it?” Roberston asked.
Busse stated that they are not “really widening” the path, but they are extending and smoothing it.
Council member Scott Tobias mentioned the possibility of having a sign put up stating that no vehicles were allowed beyond a certain point. The sign would keep from the added expense of having a post put in the path preventing vehicles from driving through. The other council members agreed.
“I think the consensus is to try the sign,” McCord said.
The council also discussed the possibility of implementing a village-wide One Call Now system, such as was what Covington Schools already utilizes, in order to let residents know about emergencies like a boil advisory.
One Call Now would be able to send a two-minute message to the landlines about boil advisories, storm warnings, snow emergencies, leaf pick up schedules, changes to trash collection schedules, street closures, and more. Residents could also register their cell phones.
The cost would be $3 per year for each household. The cost per month would be approximately $0.30 per utility customer.
“I think it’s a good system,” Busse said. “I think it’s a good option, but I wouldn’t recommend that council implements that without some sort of funding to back that up.” Busse explained that One Call Now would be another expense that the village may not be able to afford.
Now, if the village residents want that system, I think it is a good system,” Busse said. “I think we can certainly keep village residents more informed if we have a system like this.”
Busse also brought up the idea of utilizing Miami County’s reverse 9-1-1 system. While there is no cost to the village for using it, it is not customizable, though, and it is only for emergency type situations. Busse was also not sure if residents who only use cell phones and do not have a landline number would be able to be contacted via reverse 9-1-1.
The council made no decisions regarding the One Call Now system or reverse 9-1-1 on Monday evening. The council hopes to receive more input from residents later on.
On the order of new business, the council approved paying M&T’s invoice of $21,400.81 for the 2015 Sidewalk Project.
“Seeding will be completed the last week of August,” Busse said. The seeding is weather-dependent. “Mr. McCord and I will be marking sidewalks this week for the 2016 Sidewalk Program,” Busse said. Owens Drive will be included in this.
Busse also provided an update on the Spring Street project.
“The concrete work’s about 80 percent complete,” Busse said about the Spring Street project. The village is hoping to finish that by the end of the week, but it is dependent upon the weather. The village has also begun backfilling between the curb and sidewalks as well as grading behind the sidewalks, Busse said.
In regards to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, the council approved the 91 percent progress payment of $33,166.10 to CH2MHill for the Wastewater Treatment Plant phase 1 design.
“We cleaned the west sludge drying bed and are in the process of cleaning the center drying bed,” Busse said about the Wastewater Treatment Plant. “We hauled nine dump truckloads of sludge to the transfer station last week.” Busse said that this will allow the village to refill the drying beds with sludge to be dewatered.
Robertson inquired about the cost of this, which Busse said was about roughly $6,000. Busse said that the sludge must be removed and it is much cheaper to haul dry sludge versus wet sludge.
Also on the council’s agenda:
- The first council meeting in September was rescheduled from Sep. 7 to Sept. 8 due to the Labor Day holiday
- The council approved waiving the three reading rule and passing the resolution to pay for the cost of lighting the streets in the village, which cost $45,000 and has not increased from last year
- The council accepted the resignation of Chris Walters as a police officer who was offered a full-time position with the Piqua Police Department
The council also approved the resignation and retirement of Sergeant Tim Demoss, who has been with the Covington Police Department for 19 years.
“You’ve been a part of this community for a long time,” McCord said to Demoss. “You’re well-respected in the community. You’re well-respected by this council.”
On behalf of the council, McCord presented Demoss with a retirement gift of a decorative clock.
“A plain ‘thank you’ is not enough,” McCord said. “It is not enough.”
“I would like to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to work here,” Demoss said. “I graduated here, was raised here. I love Covington. I already miss it.”
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall