PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

To:   All Media Personnel

From:   Edward Butler, City Administrator

Date:  December 30, 2016

Subject:  State of the City Letter from Mayor David Hatter

2016 was another great year for the City of Fort Wright thanks to a strong team effort between you, our residents and businesses, our city council, and our dedicated staff. As 2016 comes to a close and we prepare for 2017, I’d like to take a moment to update our residents and share the good news about our community.

First, I am very happy to report that thanks to the vision, financial acumen and dedication of our team, the city is in a very strong financial position. We have no debt obligations, a 5-year capital improvement plan that calls for paying cash for all capital expenditures over the next 5 years and a very strong cash reserve to help us weather any unforeseen circumstances that may occur. We are committed to maintaining this financial posture moving forward. Furthermore, last year’s financial audit continued a long trend of clean audits and we expect a similar result for this year’s audit which will be presented at the January 4th, 2017 council meeting.

Second, I’m very pleased to say that thanks to our improving financial condition, a substantial increase in property values, an increase in the number of businesses operating in the city, and frugal spending habits by our staff, we were able to reduce our property tax rate this year! Council approved a property tax rate of $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed value versus as rate of $2.76 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2015. As Mayor, I can tell you that my goal and the goal of city council is to keep our tax rates as low as possible while providing the highest quality services. I am confident that we accomplished that goal in 2016 and we will strive to continue this trend in 2017.

I also want to ensure that residents are aware of our new financial transparency portal which was launched this year. You can access the portal any time at https://fortwrightky.opengov.com/transparency to see how your money is spent, all the way down to each individual check written. I encourage you to check it out, after all, it’s your money.

Another thing I want to mention is infrastructure. Like most communities in Northern Kentucky, our core infrastructure is aging and needs regular repair and replacement. Several years ago, council made a commitment to focus on infrastructure which includes a rolling five-year street plan. In 2016 we allocated more than $500,000 to the reconstruction of Beacon Hill, Wolfzorn Court and Oak Hill Court. As promised, we will continue to address infrastructure in 2017 as we continue to work through our street plan.  

We were also very fortunate to receive an 80/20 grant from the federal government to redesign and rebuild Amsterdam Road between Redwood and General Drive. This project is estimated to cost a little over $3 million, but thanks to the grant funds, the city’s portion will only be about $625,000. The design work on this project will begin in the spring of 2017 and it’s estimated that construction will be completed in the summer of 2020.

Another issue of major importance to our community is public safety. After an extensive cost benefit analysis, a 13th police officer was added to our team in June and is now out serving our community.

In May of 2016, long-time City Administrative Officer Gary Huff decided it was time for a well-deserved retirement. Gary joined the city in 2008 and his insight, expertise and leadership were key to helping us correct our financial issues. We owe Gary a debt of gratitude and wish him a long, happy, and healthy retirement!

Gary left huge shoes to fill, and thankfully after an exhaustive search, we found a fantastic candidate to replace him. Ed Butler joined the city as our City Administrative Officer after a 25-year career with Kenton County. Ed served 21 years with the Kenton County Police Department before retiring as Chief. He then returned to Kenton County and served 4 years as the Executive Director of the Emergency Communications Center.

As we move into 2017 and beyond, economic development will continue to be an important part of our success because we derive a substantial portion of our revenues from business related taxes and fees. We were blessed with many successes on this front in 2016 including: Dairy Queen on Highland Pike, Chick-fil-A on Madison Pike, the Trek store on Dixie Highway, the Gateway Community College Automotive Center in the old Robke Chevrolet complex at Dudley and Madison, and the relocation of Von Lehman and Company to the Wright’s Summit Complex at Kyles and Dixie. We anticipate more businesses choosing Fort Wright in 2017 including a Planet Fitness on View Point Drive and an Infiniti dealership which is planned to replace the Days Inn Hotel that was demolished on Dixie Highway.

In closing, I would like to thank our City Council for their hard work, dedication, and support. It is an honor to serve with the six members of council, each of whom has a deep commitment to making the City of Fort Wright a great place to live, work and play. I would also like to thank our city staff for their hard work and dedication, we are blessed to have excellent people serving us in the City of Fort Wright.

Finally, I encourage you again to check out our financial transparency portal and our website where you will find our audits, Capital improvement Plan, 5-year Street Plan and various other important information. We strive to keep you informed and to operate with the highest degree of transparency and openness. Please don’t hesitate to contact me, council, or staff at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas, and know that you are always welcome at our council meetings which occur on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

It is my honor and privilege to serve as your mayor here in my hometown. May God bless you and the City of Fort Wright and let me wish you and your family a very happy, safe, and prosperous 2017.

Sincerely,

David Hatter
Mayor

Calendar Of Events
City Council Meetings
City Council Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:00 P.M.
Caucus Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:00 PM
Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Financial Audit
The audit for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2016 has been completed and the report is available for viewing.
The City of Fort Wright Tranparency Portal
In an effort to provide financial information that is more timely, clear and transparent, The City of Fort Wright is very pleased to present our Financial Transparency Portal. We have partnered with OpenGov, a leader in this space, to provide a new web-based financial transparency and analysis tool that dynamically presents the city's revenues and expenses from historical trends to line item level details. Click below to learn more about OpenGov!

409 Kyles Lane, Fort Wright, KY 41011
Tel: 859-331-1700
Fax: 859-331-0454

Saturday, July 22, 2017
Civil War Book Discussion Group
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Civil War Lecture Series
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Council Meeting