Tuesday, August 24, 1999

City ponders services study

Merging some may trim costs

Enquirer contributor

        CRESCENT SPRINGS — A majority of City Council members want an independent agency to help determine whether the city should merge two services with neighboring Villa Hills.

        Councilmen Nick Berry, Jim Collett, Tom Vergamini and Rick Wessels said during Monday's caucus meeting they want the Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD) to do a study to see whether the two cities' public works and police departments should unite. Mr. Vergamini also wanted the Kentucky League of Cities to be part of the process.

        A fifth councilman, John Mullen, thinks merging services is a good idea, but he wants to form a committee of two council members each from Crescent Springs and Villa Hills.

        “If you can't get agreement from those four people — two from each city — a third party wouldn't make any difference,” Mr. Mullen said.

        Mr. Vergamini wasn't sure an impartial group could be found.

        “I think there's an inherent bias in some form or fashion,” he said.

        Councilman Larry Gronefeld did not attend Monday's meeting.

        Crescent Springs asked Villa Hills in June about uniting the police and public works departments as a way to save money in both cities. They already share fire service — the Crescent Villa Fire Authority — and the two police departments routinely back each other up on runs.

        On Aug. 9, Lisa Cooper, coordinator of NKADD's Public Administration Services Division, sent Crescent Springs Mayor Claire Moriconi a two-page proposal. The plan includes an analysis of both cities' finances, assets, gaps in service and other development issues.

        The study, which would cost about $3,200, is expected to take two months to complete.

        Neither Mrs. Moriconi nor Mr. Wessels has heard from Villa Hills officials, but Mr. Wessels said he would be meeting with some of them this week.

        If Crescent Springs and Villa Hills merge police and public works, the only separate entities would be the city clerks and city office buildings.

        In an unrelated matter, Crescent Springs Public Works Director George Ripberger said work on the city's $1.5 million park at the corner of Buttermilk Pike and Collins Road is nearly finished.

        He said the soccer field at the 11-acre park should be done within 45 days, and some benches along the one-mile walking trail are to be installed this week.


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