COVINGTON — The Covington Council voted 4-1 to enter into an agreement with a consulting firm with the goal of creating a downtown renovation district during their meeting on Monday evening.
The council majority approved entering into an agreement with the Montrose Group for economic development consulting services at a cost not to exceed $20,000. Council member Lois Newman voted against the measure. The council also approved waiving the three-reading rule for this legislation.
“The Montrose Group is proposing that they assist the village in setting up a downtown renovation district,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said.
The Montrose Group has previously worked with Versailles and Greenville. Busse said that the village has been in discussion with the Montrose Group about what area of town they would want to include in the downtown district, which would possibly include the old fire house and old school building at the corner of Spring and Pearl streets that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Busse said that once this district is set up, any increase in taxes in that area could be used to create a revolving loan fund. The fund could be used to help businesses improve their infrastructure or help new businesses get started.
“This is another tool that will be in our toolbox to try and spur new growth, new development, new businesses,” Busse said.
Also during their meeting, the council approved the amended budget ending Dec. 31, 2019. The total expenses for the village for 2019 is approximately $4,759,639.
Busse also notified the council that all current tax abatement agreements have now expired. The council voted to accept and approve the 2018 Tax Incentive Review Board’s recommendations, which does not include any new tax abatement activity.
Busse also notified the council that the village received their initial renewal quote from the village’s employee health insurance provider Anthem, which was an increase of 19.1 percent from their previous year’s cost. Busse spoke with the village’s health insurance consultant, and they are planning on pursuing more competitive bids.
“Hopefully we can come up with something a little more reasonable,” Busse said.
The village’s current health insurance plan runs through April 30.
Busse said that the village also submitted the stage one design plans for the High Street reconstruction project to the Ohio Department of Transportation on Monday.
During public comment, Dave Larson of Covington received a consensus of approval for the Eric Flory PLUS 5K to take place in Covington again. It will be held on Saturday, April 13, at 9 a.m. in the village, taking a path through Covington near St. John’s Lutheran Church on Bridge Street, to Ludlow Street, and around Walnut Street.
Mayor Ed McCord was absent from Monday’s meeting.
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