Wednesday, November 24, 1999

'Big Five' spending is approved

Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — City commissioners took the first step Tuesday toward paying for what they think are the the city's five most important capital improvement projects.

        Commissioners passed a resolution allowing the city to spend money on the projects in anticipation of collecting it later from up to $4 million in bonds the city plans to issue.

        City Manager Greg Jarvis said total costs range from $2.6 million to $4.4 million.

        The projects include:

        • $1 million to $1.5 million for a new fire station at the intersection of Church, Union and Daniels streets in Latonia.

        City Solicitor Joe Condit said the city is negotiating with Squires Inc., which now occupies the property, over the price. He said the city is ready to deposit $92,000 with the Kenton Circuit Court Clerk's Office.

        Mr. Jarvis said construction is scheduled to start next year.

        • $500,000 to $1.5 million for a new swimming pool at Latonia Elementary School at 39th Street and Huntington Avenue.

        • $500,000 to $750,000 for a youth sports complex at 43rd Street and Decoursey Pike. The project includes three soccer fields and two baseball diamonds.

        • $300,000 to $350,000 for a salt dome at the Public Works Department in Latonia.

        • Nearly $350,000 for new sidewalks, curbs and lights for the Madison Place office and condominium project on RiverCenter Boulevard.

        Commissioner J.T. Spence said the city should first use some of the money to refinance two bond issues the police and fire pension board hold.

        Mr. Spence said the city is paying 12 percent interest on a 1984 bond issue and 11.5 percent on a 1987 issue.

        City Finance Director Bob Due said the city did not refinance sooner because doing so would have decreased revenue to a pension fund covering retired police officers and firefighters who did not switch to the state pension system in 1977 and increased the city's annual contribution.

        The city contributes $250,000 annually to the fund.

        Mr. Due said the 1984 bond issue of about $895,000 helped finance a parking lot at the Waterfront restaurant complex. He said it is taxable and thus cannot be paid off with the new bond money. The balance owed is about $672,000, Mr. Due said.

        The $300,000 bond issue of 1987 paid for improvements at the fire station at 15th Street and Holman Avenue and can be refinanced with the new bonds. Mr. Due said the balance owed is about $96,000.


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