Covington commission considers another round of ARPA funding, moves to hire new Finance Director

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

At a jam-packed caucus meeting Tuesday night, Covington city Commissioners were asked to not only consider a new round of ARPA funding, but also a new Finance Director to help oversee such matters.

First, the city asked Commissioners to consider an order approving eight specific American Rescue Plan Act-funded programs, for $ 2,825,000. The programs will focus on:

Creating new, affordable housing – $ 1,000,000
City Heights relocation assistance – $ 200,000
Creating and implementing a Fire / EMS Cadet program – $ 125,000
A property reinvestment program – $ 750,000
Eastside Pedestrian improvements – $ 100,000
Stabilization of historic structures – $ 125,000
Creation of a City / Schools Recreation Commission – $ 125,000
Small Business Support – $ 400,000

The proposal will be on next week’s consent agenda.

New Finance Director

Commissioners were asked to consider the hiring of a new Finance Director.

Former Finance Director Muhammed Owusu retired March 30, and it appears the city has his replacement – though they did not share his name just yet.

“Staff is recommending the hiring of _______ as the Finance Director,” city documents read. “We believe this candidate’s experience and skill set will be a great fit for our city.”

We do, however, know several key facts:

• He has worked in local and state government managing budgets from a few million to $ 1.3 billion.

• He has held roles including financial specialist, procurement analyst, chief financial officer, controller and finance director.

“This broad range of positions will be helpful in leading our finance department,” the documents said.

The proposed hire was placed on next week’s consent agenda.

Recovering lost funds

Commissioners heard a proposal Tuesday from City Solicitor David Davidson to authorize civil litigation to recover funds lost through alleged theft, misuse and fraud within the Public Works Department.

“The next item is to authorize litigation regarding an occurrence that was uncovered back in March,” Davidson said. He noted there was an approaching “deadline on matters involving misuse of public funds and I’m in the process of preparing a complaint.”

Major Joe Meyer

Back in March, Commissioners showed up 15 minutes late to their scheduled meeting due to what the Mayor called an executive session to discuss staff. Then, the group added a surprise item to their agenda – Business Manager Allison Donaldson’s resignation, which was met with unanimous acceptance.

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer then went on to explain that a city employee had recently been investigated for “abusing” a city credit card. The city is now working with an accounting firm to quantify the extent of the activity.

Davidson’s request was put on next week’s consent agenda.

Noise ordinance

Two weeks ago, Assistant City Solicitor Logan Todd made a presentation to commissioners regarding a new noise ordinance. But commissioners made suggestions, and Tuesday, he came back with updates, including:

• A new decibel system is in place to allow our police officers another tool when a noise is plainly audible
• The construction exemption now only goes until 6 pm
• There is an exemption now for church bells, chimes, etc.

The ordinance will have a first reading at next week’s legislative meeting.

Other proposals Tuesday

Commissioners will also consider these topics at next week’s legislative meeting:

• Awarding a contract for $ 109,450.65 to fix the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower
• Awarding the annual street resurfacing contract, for $ 995,310.55
• Reaching an agreement with the Kentucky Housing Corporation for a $ 933,750 grant, which the city will use to pay rental deposits of new participants in the Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program
• Awarding a contract to build a fence around the SFC Jason Bishop Memorial Dog Park, near MainStrasse Village, for $ 109,975

Hires, Resignations and Appointments

Each will be considered at next week’s legislative meeting:

• With the departure of Emilee Buttrum, the Legal Department posted for the position of Legal Administrative Assistant and made an offer to Lydia Northcutt, who accepted.

• The Police Department requested the hiring of Police Officer Applicant Mandie Appleman, effective July 3, 2022

• Tom West requested filling an open position within the Economic Development Department for Administrative Assistant with applicant Katie O’Neill

• Public Works requested Daniel Bitter to be promoted to Brick Mason • Shane Negangard was suggested to be reappointed to the Audit Committee

Smith absent

Commissioner Shannon Smith was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.

Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 pm, June 28, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. The meetings can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels.

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