Village Council honors 2 retiring employees


By Kelsi Langston

For Miami Valley Sunday News

COVINGTON — Covington Mayor Ed McCord recognized the retirement of two village employees at Monday night’s council meeting.

Ralph “Butch” Boehringer served the village of Covington for more than 32 years and received a proclamation from the mayor at the meeting. Boehringer started his village career at the Board of Public Affairs in 1991 and worked with both the water and wastewater departments during his career.

Frank Campbell, who was not present, served the village for more than 26 years. He began his career in the village as a records clerk and more recently assisted the Covington Police Department. A retirement reception for Campbell will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Government Center.

The Village Council approved a number of items from July including a tax report, fund balance report, and check run report. Village Administrator Kyle Hinkelman stated that receipts for the village’s income tax year-to-date are down by $45,000 compared to 2022. He did note that village funds are lower than anticipated due to paying a $94,000 invoice from AES for the relocation of underground utilities in the vicinity of Schoolhouse Park. The fund balance at the beginning of July was $5,252,042.20, and the ending balance was $4,994,480.43.

There were several visitors who requested the chance to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. The first was a resident whose home is located on Broadway Street shared she believes lack of road maintenance throughout the village has led to multiple breaks in her sewer line, and noted inconsistencies in what the village deems the responsibility of homeowners. She stated she was recently held responsible for the cost of digging up the street to repair the line, which cost her $4,700 in addition to the actual line repair, with a total cost of $7,200. The total cost out of pocket was $7,200. She also shared frustration that the village has not invested more time and money into road maintenance amidst the other projects they are conducting. Hinkelman explained the village budgets $100,000 annually for street repair and maintenance, which is not enough to cover the major repairs needed on U.S. Route 36. The village has completed several patch jobs on various streets, but the aging infrastructure needs to be addressed. It was implied that residents may need to consider a street levy in the future. McCord advised he would follow up with the resident regarding her responsibility for the cost to repair the street portion of the sewer line.

Resident Terry Garman requested an update on a zoning complaint he filed last December against a business property located at 2 W. Spring St. in the central business district. Garman does not believe the business qualifies for any of the zoning uses named by the Miami County Auditor. He was advised that the zoning committee is currently investigating and considering an update to the zoning districts within the village. Garman also shared concerns about safety and property maintenance, as he believes the business in question is in violation of the village’s property maintenance ordinance. He was advised to file a property maintenance complaint.

Phyllis Rapp had several questions regarding the status of Schoolhouse Park, including the expected timeline for paving the new road, parking lot, and sidewalk in front of her home. She shared frustration that her family has not had access to the street in front of their home since December. Rapp expressed the information being given around bids and the different facets of the park are not detailed enough for residents to understand.

Hinkelman advised anyone who would like more details on the site plans or history of the park can find that information on the village’s website and social media accounts.

Hinkelman gave an update on Schoolhouse Park during his report, saying there are currently two phases of the park being completed simultaneously. The old Rudy elevator phase still has concrete work, road work and site grading still outstanding. There was an issue with a gas line that should be resolved by the end of the week.

“So, on the Rudy phase, at least, there’s a number of items that need to be resolved. We’re going to work on resolving them,” said Hinkelman. “We worked with the contractor, we had issues with some financial things, we had some issues with some time extensions, there’s been a number of issues. I can’t give you a date,” referring to the paving of a sidewalk.

The village has added an alternate to their open bid for the pavement of the parking lot, which would be completed by a third contractor. Hinkelman said that no promises can be made in terms of paving the parking lot until the village sees the final numbers. The village is also addressing several issues on the site phase of the park including concrete work, curb placement, and hydrant removal.

Other updates from Hinkelman’s report included the first wall of the new wastewater treatment plant being completed, plans for a future auction for any items of value remaining in the old Sellmans building, and the recent cleaning and painting of the village water tower. The date for the demolition of buildings on High Street remains to be determined by the county, and the Covington Historical Society will be hosting a scavenger hunt on Aug. 14. The village is also promoting Greg Van De Grift to Wastewater Supervisor, effective Aug. 5.

The council discussed the purchase of two different sizes of wreaths purchased to trial as holiday decorations for the street poles. The village is also looking into a plan for those wishing to purchase holiday banners. The village will host its annual Hometown Christmas celebration on Nov. 24 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. There will be food trucks, sleigh rides, live music, vendors, a tree lighting, and a parade.

Second readings were held for ordinances to amend the employee manual, update the village fee schedule and a resolution to update and replace the village’s records retention policy and schedules. Four new resolutions were introduced, including lighting district assessments, and adopting the Miami County hazard mitigation plan five-year update.

Council members waived the three-reading rule and approved a resolution authorizing the village administrator to execute an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the village’s U.S. Route 36/Broadway improvement project. The estimated cost of completion for the project is $5 million, with the village being responsible for $2 million. The project is not set to begin until 2027.

Council chose to table a resolution that would adopt a name for the new roadway associated with Schoolhouse Park. Residents have the opportunity to vote via survey for one of the top two road name nominations until Aug. 14. The link can be found on the village’s website and social media accounts. The council will take survey results into consideration when making their final decision at a future meeting.

Council member Derrick Canan was absent. The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m.

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