By Haylee Pence
COVINGTON — The Covington Village Council tabled an ordinance creating a downtown district including regulations within the district at their meeting on March 20.
The ordinance was at its second of three readings. If passed, the ordinance would establish boundaries of a downtown district and regulations for properties within the district. According to Village Administrator Kyle Hinkelman, residential property owners would be allowed to be exempt from regulations if they filled out a form with the village, but then, those property owners would not be eligible for benefits like grants. Business owners in the district would not be able to be exempt.
The ordinance was tabled with a 5-1 vote, as Council member Jesse Reynolds voted against tabling the ordinance, and will be discussed at the next planning commission. Council member Amy Welborn and Council member Derrick Canan asked about extending the boundaries to include other areas that what was in the ordinance. Welborn also discussed the color palette that property owners would be required to follow asking to extend the colors to include more. She also asked about finding a way to help property owners easily find the correct colors when purchasing paint.
Village council heard the second reading of a resolution to levy a tax. They also heard the first reading of a similar resolution. Both resolutions are to levy a tax in two different amounts for the same fund. According to Hinkelman, if both resolutions are passed, the county will provide more accurate figures on the impact of the levy which the council can utilize to determine which amount to apply in a single ordinance to put the levy on the ballot.
Four parcels on the corner of Main Street and Wright Street were approved for purchase by the village of Covington in the amount of $140,000. The property was previously the Sellman Warehouse.
Hinkelman said, “At this point in time, the village does not have any direct plans for the property. We are looking to create a plan and work with local businesses and our community to determine the best future use of the property.”
The three-reading rule was waived for one resolution involving an agreement with Wanger Paving for a mill and fill on U.S. Route 36 and state Route 41 in the amount of $61,000.
On U.S, Route 36, the area includes a 450.8-square-yardage between Main Street and the Covington Park entrance.
On state Route 41, there will be several sections between Pearl Street and South Wenrick Street with a total of 659-square-yardage.
The project will be a mill and fill repair, not a repaving of those sections, according to Hinkelman.
The council also waived the three-reading rule to approve an ordinance to establish the High Street Banner Program in order to get the Hometown Hero banners for Memorial Day which was requested by Hinkelman.
Other ordinances include the first readings for a salary ordinance adjustment and amending the employee manual.
The salary adjustments target the administration and police department.
“It’s to help make us more competitive,” said Hinkelman during his explanation of the ordinance.
The amendment to the employee manual focuses on the sick leave policy that the village has for its employees. According to Hinkelman, the new policy will require employees to provide “evidence” if using more than two days in a row of sick leave. It would also require employees to take sick leave for appointments.
Hinkelman wanted to remind residents that received an income survey to fill those out and send them back in. The survey is being done in order to determine the percentage of low-to-moderate income households within the village. If the survey determines that at least 51% of the residents fall within that category, the village can qualify for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in order to improve conditions for residents with low-to-moderate income.
During the last survey, the village did not meet that threshold and does not currently qualify for any of those funds.
“There’s no negative to anyone,” Hinkelman said, further explaining that the company doing the survey does not share data received like addresses.