With all council members present and Brandon Voelker in for City Attorney Jack Gatlin, Mayor Greg Brockman called the Dec. 18 meeting of the Dry Ridge City Council to order. The meeting included second readings and approval of short term rentals (STR) in the city.
The second reading of Ordinance 904-2023 “Amending the Text of Zoning Ordinance and Modifying the treatment of Short-Term Rentals making them Conditional Uses in Residential, NC, CBD zones” was approved unanimously.
The second reading of “Ordinance 905-2023 authorizing and regulating Short-Term Rentals” was conducted.
Councilmember Jennifer Vincent asked about the charges for permitting, questioning why and where the money from the permits goes.
Volker answered that in general it is a “fee that is commiserate with the increased cost of … administration.” It is not to be a “profit-maker,” rather it is intended to cover fire, emergency medical services and administrative costs.
City Administrator Ken Little said the STR permit fee will be no different than “any conditional use permit” fee.
The ordinance was approved unanimously.
Little provided the following updates:
• The “upcoming audit report will be at January’s meeting.”
• Climavision Radar has been installed on the water tower on Easy Street. Although it is not operating, he said they expect “to get an update on that in the next couple of months.” He said once it is in operation they will be receiving data that can be shared with the county and cities for weather forecasting.
• The annual Stuff the Cruiser and Shop With a Cop program was modified this year and “sponsored with the help of some donations. Five families that were in desperate need of some materials of Christmas items” were helped.
Volunteers wrapped the presents and city Police Chief Rick Kells “has been handing those out throughout the week to those families that so much needed it.”
While it is a different approach to the program, it “seemed to be quite successful so far.” Little thanked Kells and the donors and noted it was “very much appreciated” by the recipients.
• It is the midpoint of the operating budget year. Little said though some line items are “in trouble,” that with the city at roughly 42% to 43% of the projected budget, the overall budget is good.
• Updating sewer issues, he said over the past couple of years, the city has been upgrading sewer pumps. The Meadowview pump should be installed in the “next ten or twelve weeks” and purchase is “pretty much paid for.”
The Locust Ridge pump station, which has “become pretty much obsolete” after “21 years or so,” is in an included line item for replacement in the budget. He said this will cost around $49,000.
Little said they need the chopper style pump due to items being dumped into the sewer system. He said “in the long term, it will cut down on a lot of the maintenance issues the we are seeing in the sewer side of things.”
Water meters are also being replaced, due to age and wear. Apparently, meters “slow down” as they wear out and need to be replaced. He said they are the “cash registers” of the system.
The city is also doing “cold patching” of roads in preparation for the “freezing and thawing” of winter.
Stop signs are still on backorder; apparently there is difficulty in getting the materials for production.
He said they are “about 80% capacity on salt” for the year.
• Camera systems are up and running and are “operating flawlessly.”
Little updated that fire “Engine 32,” which normally sits “out in the county at Mt. Zion” is now out for repairs. He said the repairs had been estimated between $98,000 and $108,000; but they had since found an entity to repair it for “around $39,000.”
When the unit comes back to the city, they will be “putting on some extra bays on the carport side of the firehouse to accommodate those ambulances so that we can park [Engine 32] indoors should we need to do so.”
He said he should have numbers on the building addition next month.
District Two County Magistrate Shawna Coldiron asked, “Do you anticipate [the truck] going to Mt. Zion?”
Brockman responded “No.”
She then said, “So it is going to stay up here in the bay area.”
He responded “Yep.”
Councilmember Kenny Edmonson asked are “you going to send another truck over there” to Mt. Zion?
“Nope,” Brockman replied.
Fire Chief Allen Cammack related that for the year, 2023; the city departments have had 2,645 Emergency Medical Service [ambulance] and 400 fire runs.
The next meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Dry Ridge City Building, 31 Broadway. For questions or more information, contact the city at (859) 824-3335.