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Council approves airport plan to hire personnel, equipment
Council also approves parking, outdoor burning ordinances
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The Covington City Council unanimously approved an airport plan that calls for the city to hire three employees, buy around $20,000 worth of equipment and increase its liability insurance to cover operating the airport.

A full-time ground operations manager and two-part time employees will be hired to run the airport on a temporary basis, until the city decides on the future of the Covington Airport Authority. The employees are expected to be paid around $11 to $12 per hour. In addition, Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello, who was hired in August, may also take over a managerial role at the airport.

Earlier this year, legislation was passed by the state to allow an authority to be formed, but the city has not yet appointed any members.

Various equipment, supplies and services would cost around $20,000, including a tug to pull airplanes, uniforms for new employees, office supplies and furniture, according to a memo by Passariello. Finally, the city will have to pay an additional $4,500 for an additional $2 million of liability insurance to cover its new operational role at the airport.

In related airport news, Bob Riddell, owner of the company that operates the airport, has said that the city's early termination agreement will not adequately reimburse him for all of the money he has invested in the airport. He requested mediation with the city to reach a more fair settlement. The council agreed to mediation, only if it has an opportunity to vote on any mediation agreement as a body. Normally, mediation agreements are made between representatives from each side, but the council wanted the final say as a united body.

In other city news, the city unanimously approved the first reading of a revised city parking ordinance, which will limit vehicles that can be parked in residential areas to those that weigh 14,000 pounds or less. The ordinance will apply to passenger, commercial and recreational vehicles; however, vehicles of any size can be parking inside an entirely enclosed structure. Construction vehicles will not be allowed.

Residents once again spoke at the meeting, and Forest Drive resident Virginia Hoffman expressed concern that the number of vehicles that can be parked at a home was not limited. However, Mayor Kim Carter said the council never intended to limit the number of vehicles allowed to be parked at a home.

The city also approved the first reading of an ordinance that will more clearly regulate outdoor burning in the city of Covington. The current ordinance is vague and Covington Fire Chief Don Floyd said he has not felt comfortable issuing any permits. However, residents are allowed to apply for permits, and the proposed ordinance will ensure outdoor burning is conducted safely, Floyd said.