Another year has passed in the great city of Villa Hills. We have kept our momentum in the repair of our streets thanks to the road tax authorized by voters. We were able to take care of 19 streets at a cost of $700,000.00 this year. Due to a change in state law that eliminated prevailing wage, the city saved significantly on the cost of road projects. As a result we have reduced the amount of deferred maintenance from $3 million to $2 million dollars. Hopefully all of the deferred maintenance will be totally eliminated in a few short years. We are also replacing our street signs with decorative signs and poles which will be installed over the next few years. None of the funds for the signs came from the road tax. The funds are coming from our designated payroll tax. We have received a large number of compliments from our citizens on our new signs.
The Buttermilk Pike replacement is scheduled to begin in June 2018 and be completed in approximately 4 months. Prior to our road work, the Water District will replace the water main along Buttermilk. Major disruptions are expected to take place during all phases of our water main and street replacement. Watch for signs for closure and detour. Road projects of this size result in inconvenience, some minor, some major. This is unavoidable. The City respectfully requests your patience and understanding while the project is underway.
We completed a small area study for the St. Walburg development. The study was approved by the Kenton County Planning Commission 19-0. We were told that it was the best study that the Planning Commission has seen. PDS and The City we honored with the APA Special Merit Award as a result of the small area study conducted for the St. Walburg/Sanctuary Development project. The Sisters’ are selling 85 acres of property to Ashley development pending zoning approval. Work will begin in 2018 and will take several years to complete. We understand that many people are concerned about traffic in the area. We have been working to address that issue through grant opportunities and asking our local legislators for assistance from the state. Unfortunately, infrastructure improvements often lag behind development. If communities waited for infrastructure to be built before development could occur, nothing would ever get developed.
Our annual audit was clean with an unmodified opinion, which is the best opinion auditors can give. We added money to the city reserves every year since I became Mayor. For the first time we have dedicated resources to capital purchases in a separate fund so we can replace equipment as needed. This is a big change because when I took office in 2015 nearly every piece of public works or police equipment was obsolete or needed costly repairs to keep running. Having dedicated capital funds prevents this from happening in the future.
We had another Student Shadow Night. Students from River Ridge Elementary, St. Joseph School and Villa Madonna Academy attended. We believe there is no better way to learn about government than to participate.
We passed an ordinance regulating solar energy panels. It is the first one in Kenton County. We also passed an ordinance establishing a new rental license and safety inspection program.
Villa Hills once again regularly topped the lists of the safest small cities in our region, in our state and the nation. Our fine police department was also honored by AAA with a 2017 Traffic Safety Award.
I want to thank all of our council members for their support. The only way the city has been able to address the many issues that faced Villa Hills when I took office has been with Council’s willingness to discuss and work through tough problems. As a result, we had 33 months of consecutive unanimous votes. I also want to thank our staff in police, public works and administration for all of the hard work they do day in and day out.
It is an honor to serve you as Mayor and may God bless the City of Villa Hills.
Irvin T. “Butch” Callery