Kenton City Council met in regular fashion Monday evening at the city building. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read and there were no citizens requesting time to speak.
Parks and Recreation Director, Emma Bushong, presented an update to council on the city pool and parks. So far this season, the pool has only been closed one day and closed once early for inclement weather, a vast change from last season when the pool was not able to open until June 15. At last count, season pass sales are at $7,880. Opening day for the pool saw about 500 swimmers, which, according to Bushong, was the largest amount seen in her tenure with the city. Bushong noted that the OSU Extension has begun offering Aqua Zumba classes at the pool on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and it has had a successful turnout. She also noted that there was a free night swim coming up on July 9 from 7-10pm, and an event with 93.9FM radio station on August 5 from noon-2pm. The station will be doing a live broadcast and will have giveaways during the pool party, which does require paid admission. The city parks are receiving updates as well, including new mulching, lights, and electricity. Bushong said the city has received a Neighborhood Revitalization Grant for the Water Works Park. Bushong also told council that Kids Day will be held on July 23 from noon to 3pm.
Several council committees had not met since the last regular meeting, but it was noted that the July meeting for the Finance Committee will need to be rescheduled so it does not conflict with the July 4 holiday. Parks and Recreation will meet Tuesday, June 14 at 4:30pm in the city building; the BKP Board will meet on Monday, June 20; and the Safety Committee will meet on Wednesday, June 15 at 12:30pm.
Under old business, council passed an ordinance amending the Kenton codified ordinances relating to employee pay assignment, hourly schedule rates, and salary schedule rates. The passing of this amendment brings the current pay scales up to current standards set by the MOP Committee and city legal council. A second ordinance, regarding selling old police cruisers, was sent on to third reading.
In new business, council addressed six pieces of legislation. Four of the pieces were voted to by-pass the three-reading rule and passed unanimously; they included additional appropriations for grant money, the Letson Avenue street project, and paying back the general fund; maintenance and street materials; the purchase of real estate at 1125 and 1127 Fontaine Street; and issues with equipment at the sewer plant.
One piece of legislation, regarding transferring funds, moved to second reading, and the final piece of informal legislation passed to approve a $500 donation to the Independence Day Fireworks Fund.
During the comments portion of the meeting, Safety Service Director Jim Hites told council that he had received a quote for mosquito spraying, but said that the 12 week contract would not have to be utilized in full if it wasn't necessary.
Fire Chief Tim Clark told council that he had hired a firefighter from Ada. Pending his physical examination, he will be joining the department by June 25, which will bring the fire department up to full force.
City Auditor Brian Hattery mentioned in his comments his personal frustration with the CSX railway closures and the safety concerns it posed for the city during the traffic bottlenecks. His comments opened a slew of agreement from other council members, including Safety Service Director Jim Hites and Mayor Randy Manns, both who noted that CSX did not give the city a "heads up" about the closures and subsequent contact with CSX has been frustrating and unproductive. Council member David Beazley implored those present and any concerned citizen to visit www.puco.ohio.gov and navigate to the bottom left corner of the screen, where there is an option to file a complaint. Police Chief Dennis Musser added that they had tried to charge CSX criminally for blocking the crossings, but that regulations were stiff and the situation seemingly moot. Council member Patti Risner asked for residents to exercise patience and civility during the closings, stating that exceedingly angry driving was just going to make the situation worse and could cause severe injury to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians if not cautious.
Council then dismissed into closed session to discuss property acquisition.
The next regular meeting of the Kenton City Council will be on Monday, June 27, 2016 at 7:00pm in council chambers.