By Kelsi Langston
For the MIami Valley Today
COVINGTON — Covington Village Council met on Monday and issued two proclamations. The first was in recognition of Police Officer Russell McNeill as Officer of the Year. The second was to proclaim that the Rogers Classic Drum Show, which will take place in Covington on April 23, is being named the Shields Classic Drum Show and Homecoming Day in memory of Jerry Shields.
Village Administrator Kyle Hinkelman shared in his update that the High Street project is still set to begin on May 2, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 1. He also shared that the installation of the Verizon tower within the village has stalled due to an extended wait time for several necessary components. Hinkelman stated that the vacation of alleys and public right-of-ways is still an ongoing discussion.
Hinkelman also took several minutes to address questions and commentaries he’d received regarding village expenditures. “I get asked a fair bit about funds or somebody will call and say, ‘You know, I wish you weren’t spending money on a park when you need to pave roads,’” he said. Hinkelman explained that street funds, general funds, water funds, and sewer funds are not all the same things. “Each of those funds has specific tasks or goals that they’re allowed to achieve. So, general fund money can be used for anything…the other funds have certain restrictions on them. One of which is the street fund. There is specific money that comes into that fund for the specific purpose of the street department…so when people make donations for the park, that is specifically for the park.”
Resident Mike Hagan addressed the council regarding the proposed bike path. He asked them to consider changing the route, which would eliminate the use of a 70-foot right-of-way on Grant Street, as well as crossing a busy part of State Route 36, which he suggested would make the path safer. This change could also allow him to obtain some of the village property currently being allotted to the bike path if that land were to be vacated. In addition, he asked the council to consider changing the final destination of the bike path due to safety concerns. The current route proposed would lead bicyclists into the parking lot of the future Schoolhouse Park.
The council heard the third reading of a resolution appointing Dwayne Wilson to the Board of Zoning Appeals. This resolution was approved. The second reading of a resolution authorizing a contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation for road salt was heard and the three reading rule was waived due to a deadline of April 29. The resolution was approved.
A first reading was heard for a resolution authorizing the annual renewal of health insurance for village employees. There was a motion to waive the three reading rule due the plan year closing on May 1, but due to conflict of interest, the council was not able to waive the three reading rule.
The council also heard a first reading of a resolution authorizing certain village property as surplus. This property consists of items retained by the Covington Police Department that need to be auctioned, disposed of, or destroyed.
The third resolution presented for its first reading was a resolution to accept a donation in the amount of $150,186.41 from the Covington Community Chest. These funds were donations collected by the Covington Community Chest toward the Schoolhouse Park project. There was a motion to waive the three reading rule but the motion failed.
The council heard the first reading of an ordinance to modify expenditures and revenues for the village. This is a quarterly modification performed after review of the village’s budget and revenues. The line items being modified are related to utility and gas costs as well as loans paid in 2022 instead of 2021. The modification also addresses revenue received as donations.
Mayor Ed McCord and Council President Jesse Reynolds were both absent.