by Robin Gee
The first Dayton City Council meeting of 2017 included reports on Dayton Schools and YMCA efforts in the city as well as a request for a zoning change to accommodate a new business and dealt with some tension over code enforcement fines.
New Main Street director
Robert Yoder, former community and economic director for city of Silver Grove, has accepted the position of Main Street manager. City Administrator Michael Giffen announced that Yoder will start work Friday, January 6, but there will be a formal announcement and introduction at the next council meeting.
Dayton Independent School District report
The meeting opened with a slide show and report from Dayton Independent Schools Superintendent Jay Brewer.
Brewer noted that the school district has come a long way over the last five years. The state of Kentucky recently designated Dayton schools a “distinguished district.” Seventy-two districts out of 173 in our state have earned the distinction. Dayton High School is one of only three area high schools to hold the honor along with Campbell County and Highlands high schools.
The superintendent shared some state rankings and funding numbers with the council. Dayton schools rank 70th in the state and are the seventh highest in the Northern Kentucky region. Brewer added that Dayton High School is listed as fourth among the top 25 high schools for growth in the state.
He also shared an update on the $1.6 million building project at Dayton High School that includes a new secure entrance and a ceramics art room. The new space will feature a green glass entrance and bump out will let in light and make it a more welcoming space for students and the community, said Brewer.
The entrance features green neon lights and green tinted glass in honor of the school colors and the city of Dayton. The lights can be seen for miles away and should bring notice to the city from across the region, he added.
Goals for the future include providing all students with laptops and access to WiFi, increased literacy, competitive teacher salaries and a Dayton Community Campus and Sports Complex.
Bill Powell is the group vice president for YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. He addressed council with his colleague Erin Swift, director of the Campbell County YMCA.
The YMCA will vacate the Teen Center Building on 2nd Avenue by the end of January and has turned the building over to the city of Dayton. Yet, said Powell, Dayton can expect increased programming directly to students onsite at area schools.
With funding from the 21st Century federal grant program, the Campbell County YMCA will continue to provide programming in Dayton directly at both the high school and elementary school. The YMCA provides direct programming in Dayton to 276 students. In addition, the organization will continue to provide programming at its Fort Thomas location at 1437 S. Ft. Thomas Ave.
Zoning change request
Council heard from two artists who would like to open a tattoo studio in the Dayton Central Business District.
Artists Aryn Fox of Newport and Amber Hoeffer of Covington have a property picked out in Dayton to open a studio. They are asking for an amendment or change to city ordinances currently forbidding tattoo parlors.
Bellevue resident Colleen Carr spoke on behalf to the business outlining outdated beliefs about tattoo establishments and noting the emphasis on safety and cleanliness she believes would be a part of this new business.
Fox is a well-known body paint and tattoo artist who made it into the finals for the reality show “Skin Wars” last year. Hoeffer also has a track record for tattoo artistry.
The council passed a motion to send the request to the Planning and Zoning board set to meet February 1. After receiving a recommendation, city council will revisit the request and vote on it. Members appeared favorable toward the request.
Tension over code violation fees
Dustin Fossette has completed renovations on a property at 410 8th Avenue and is in the process of two more nearby renovation projects. He addressed the council with concerns about $3,270 in fines for various code violations on his properties.
Exchange got heated as he claimed that he did not receive notice of the violations and was turned away from an appeals meeting where he intended to challenge the charges.
After an angry exchange, council attorney Tom Edge said that notices were sent to the address listed on the contract between the city and Fossette. It was up to Fossette to ensure the city had the correct address information on file.
Since he did not respond in the allotted time, Edge said Fossette’s only option is to file a motion in district court to have a right of clear title, but once the city shows proof notices were mailed out in compliance with KY statute, he would not win that argument.
Fossette said he will honor his contract to bring all his properties up to code by the July 1, 2017, deadline, but will be in touch again on this matter.
Several board appointment terms were up at the end of the year. City Clerk Donna Leger read a list into the record of those who agreed to be reappointed for another term. All were approved by council.
Council approved an amendment that would increase fines for violations of laws against animals running loose. Fines for those whose animals are not spayed or neutered would be more but could be reduced if the owner agreed to have the Campbell County Animal Shelter neuter or spay the animal.
Council discussed the registration fee for vacant properties. Some questioned the parameters of the fee of $500 to register and a $100 fine per day for failing to register. The intent of the registration fee and fines was to discourage abandoned properties but the way in which it is written any homeowner whose house is on the market more than 60 days is required to register and pay the fee, even if the property is kept up.
Council member Jeff Volter made a motion that council revisit the registration fee decision. Council agreed and Mayor Virgil Boruske assigned members Bill Burns, Jeff Volter and Denny Lynn to form a committee to explore the issue and report to council.
Council also heard from Police Chief David Halfhill that crime numbers are down in the city and from Fire Chief Mike Auteri that fire personnel will be training on the new fire truck soon.