How Covington faced down a $20M deficit
A year and a half ago Covington City Manager Larry Klein projected a $20 million deficit over five years. Now with what he calls "painful" cuts out of the way, including new labor contracts with higher health care premiums, a reorganization of city departments and a consolidation of emergency dispatch services, Covington is on track to save 20 million over five years. He will detail his new budget Tuesday morning for businesses at a meeting spearheaded by the Covington Business Council.
The savings break down like this for each of the 5 years:
- Kenton County Dispatch Center-$1 million a year
- Health care- $1.5 million a year
- Reorganization of city departments- $1.5 million a year
City Manager Klein says this is the first year Covington is not just cutting back to balance the budget. The focus is now on looking long-term to improve the infrastructure and neighborhoods.
The 5-year Community Reinvestment Plan
In addition to the $46 million general fund budget, headed to the Covington City Commission for approval later this month, Klein is proposing a 5-year $72 million community reinvestment plan. Half is infrastructure, including sidewalk and street reconstruction. The City Manager says the city hasn't been keeping up with repairs because of a $40 million deficit in infrastructure.
- Half of the proposed $72 million plan is infrastructure, including sidewalk and street repairs and reconstruction.
- This month Klein will also ask the City Commission to begin the design and engineering phase of Covington's part of Riverfront Commons. This 11.5 mile walking and biking path will connect Newport to Ludlow.
- There are also plans for a new city hall and a year-round healthy living center
Covington is in a good position
Klein says, "We faced the brutal facts and overcame them and now I think we're seeing the results of all that hard work." He credits the City Commission for focusing on solutions and having the courage to make tough choices. The City Commission could approve Klein's budget June 25 or in a special session June 27.