Two council seats open in Covington

Council discusses new parking prohibitions

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — During Ed McCord’s mayor report at the Covington Council meeting held on Monday, Dec. 7, McCord discussed the two open council seats that they need to fill. The council will need to appoint two residents and currently accepting letters of interest until Dec. 18.

“In the past, we’ve requested that anybody that’s interested would turn in a letter of interest,” McCord said. “At that time, the council members would get a copy of it. So the procedure would be if anyone is interested in council seat beginning January 2016, they would need to turn a letter of interest in to Mike [Busse] prior to the end of the business day on Dec. 18.”

After that, on Dec. 21, the letters that the village has received will go to council members. On Jan. 4, those residents who turned in a letter would be invited to the council meeting held that day.

The council approved a number of items of official business on their agenda. Beginning with their only item of old business, the council waived the three-reading rule and voted to approve the petition of annexation of 3.064 acres from Newberry Township. This is the Sink-Smith properties, which include a private resident and private developer.

On the order of new business, the council waived the three-reading rule and approved the 2016 Sidewalk Program.

“We have the months of the year as to when things are going to get done,” McCord said, explaining that they have the sidewalks organized in an order of necessity. “We do have our timetable, timeline set.”

The council then approved change order #4 and pay request #8 for the Spring Street Project for the amount of $7,500.

“That includes all of the wrap-up concrete work we did,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said. “That closes the project out by approving this change order … These were the items we did to go back and satisfy some of the concerns that the property owners had.”

With the Spring Street Project being closed out, the council then approved the closeout pay request #9. That released the $25,000 that the village held back for the project.

“Now that everything’s done to our satisfaction, we’ll release that $25,000 retainage,” Busse said.

Council followed that item with change order #1 for the municipal parking lot. Council approved the deduct of $4,784.84, which was money the village did not spend on the project. They also approved the closeout pay request #2 for the project for the amount of $2,500 and authorized Busse to sign the certificate of substantial completion for the same project.

Council then heard the first reading of two new ordinances regarding long-term parking on city streets. According to McCord, the last parking ordinance was created in 1972.

“This is a starting point,” McCord said about the current ordinance.

The first ordinance include prohibitions on the following:

• Parking on High Street from East Fountain Street to West Bridge Street between the hours of 2-5 a.m.

• Parking in village-owned parking lots between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. with the exception of village employees

• Parking for longer than two hours in the downtown area.

The second ordinance includes prohibitions on the following:

• Parking on any street, alley, or public property for longer than 72 consecutive hours

• Parking any commercial vehicle with a GVWR over 25,000 pounds, boat, trailer, recreation vehicle, motor home, or similar vehicle on any street, alley, or public property for longer than four consecutive hours

• Parking in the front or side yard of any residentially zoned property for longer than two consecutive hours

Both of these ordinances allow a police officer to take immediate action if deemed necessary, including removing the vehicle and charging the person in violation with a minor misdemeanor. If the person in violation is a repeat offender, the offender can be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor.

“This allows law enforcement to address it right away,” Busse said, explaining that they usually try to work with people and talk to them, but this will allow law enforcement to issue a citation right away.

Council member Doris Beeman questioned the prohibition of parking for longer than two hours in the downtown area.

“It says no greater than two hours … where are the people that work downtown supposed to park if they’re not allowed out there more than two hours?” Beeman asked.

“Most of the businesses have parking behind,” Busse said. “I guess that is something to consider … There’s a lot of apartments today that park on the streets for long periods of time.”

“Do we have a particular problem area that is a catalyst for these kinds of limitations?” council member Joyce Robertson asked.

Busse stated that they had issues in front of their municipal building as well as with apartments down the road from their building.

McCord stated that they were seeking to create ordinances that were “fair, and workable, and enforceable.” McCord also reiterated that this was a “starting point” and nothing was “set in stone.”

Robertson asked about the 2-5 a.m. time frame when cars will not be allowed to park on High Street from East Fountain Street to West Bridge Street. McCord and Busse explained that was to get all of the cars cleared out for street-sweeping and snow removal purposes.

The council then approved accepting a donation of $1,000 from the Covington Eagles to the Covington Police Department to be used for a new body camera and other equipment.

“We already had five of them,” Chief of Police Lee Harmon said in regard to their body cameras.

The body camera is for the School Resource Officer at Covington Schools, who also needed a hand-held metal detector and a portable breath assessor.

“It has been very successful so far,” Harmon said. “It’s turning out to be a good thing.”

Beeman asked how the mandatory drug testing is going at the schools. The drug-testing applies to randomly selected students between the grades of 7-12 who participate in sports or extracurricular activities or who have driving privileges.

“We’ve had no positive tests yet,” Lee said, noting that they have done the random selection for drug-testing three times.

“So far, it’s gone off without a hitch,” Lee said. “We’ve had two students refuse, but that’s their right.”

Council then approved the Covington Police Department providing pizza and refreshments for the School Safety Patrol party at a cost not to exceed $200, and also approved the resignation of part-time police officer Eric Krauss.
Council discusses new parking prohibitions

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall