By Kelsi Langston
For Miami Valley Today
COVINGTON — The village of Covington recognized the retirement of former Police Chief Lee Harmon at its Nov. 6 council meeting.
Harmon served as chief for 21 years, the longest tenure held by any chief of the Covington Police Department. Mayor Ed McCord issued a proclamation expressing appreciation for Harmon’s service and dedication to the village during his 29 years on the force.
“I appreciate everything. It’s been an honor to serve, and I plan on continuing that,” said Harmon, who ran unopposed for the office of mayor in the November election.
McCord shared a reminder Covington’s third annual Hometown Christmas Celebration was set for Nov. 24.
Village Administrator Kyle Hinkelman gave updates on several projects including Schoolhouse Park. The bond company agreement between the village, the surety company and Westerheide Construction was signed on Oct. 31 after a special council meeting was held to approve the agreement the previous day.
Work has started on the site, with the anticipation of pouring the first coat of asphalt on Buccaneer Way, weather depending, and work on a small portion of Grant Street was set for Nov. 11. The topcoat will likely be poured in the spring. The site should be complete with flatwork, sidewalks and curbs within a week and a half. Pads have been laid out for the main pavilion and smaller shelters, with foundations and piers being poured within the near future. Due to weather, the site will be seeded in the spring with the hope that AES will remove their poles before seeding.
“Probably after Thanksgiving, you’re going to look at a site that is substantially different,” said Hinkelman, who added the village is hoping to make the new playground safe and accessible during the remainder of the project.
The wastewater treatment project is on schedule and continuing at a very brisk pace. The county has selected Level MB as their contractor for the High Street demolition project, to which the village is a third-party as the owner of property involved. The agreement in place includes the village as well the as the property owner to the north, Ya’ll’s Country Club. This is to ensure that property owners are kept informed and allow cross access when the contractor needs to touch their building. The village anticipates going out for bid again for the government center remodel, with some modifications. Modifications do not include a council chamber addition and will cut off the majority of the project in the parking lot in attempt to reduce the project number and streamline it for bid. The current banners and flags on High Street will be removed and holiday decorations were set to begin after Veterans Day.
Council approved minutes from three prior meetings, the October 2023 tax report, the October financial report, the October fund balance report, the October year-to-date fund balance report, and the October check report.
Members waived the three-reading rule to approve four new resolutions. The first was the appointment of Police Sgt. Tim Cline as acting police chief per a recommendation made by McCord.
“I say this, knowing full well that you all know what an asset, Sgt. Cline, now Chief Klein, is to our organization. But I think we are excited, and I think he will do an absolutely phenomenal job in that position,” Hinkelman said.
The remaining three resolutions approved included a authorizing the sale of three service weapons to Harmon; to authorize a memorandum of understanding for the High Street demolition project, which grants easement to the contractor on village property; and to authorize the signing of an easement with AES.
This AES related resolution is for the ongoing movement of AES utility poles, which requires permission from the village to move the poles onto village property in a location where there currently is no public right-of-way.
“I had substantial discussion, I will wholeheartedly admit that I requested $10,000 for them to have the rights to this easement,” said Hinkelman. “Their legal counsel did reach out and state they would not be paying us any money for these easements, that there is a process, and they have a right. So, we are moving forward with our resolution.”
Council went into execution session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee or official. No action was taken.
Council member Jesse Reynolds was absent at the Nov. 6 meeting.
The Nov. 20 meeting was cancelled due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.