How should Covington spend incoming federal funds?

COVINGTON, KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Covington residents had the chance Tuesday night to weigh in on how the city should spend some federal money coming their way soon.

Come summer, officials say they're expecting nearly $2 million from HUD made up of funds from Community Development Block Grants, and HOME Investment Partnership Funds.

Some spoke in favor of revamping parks. Others want to attract retailers and develop business areas. But for some, fixing flooding problems is priority number one.

"I can't count over 20 years the thousands of dollars I've lost to flooding," said Marty Sdieritz, a Covington resident.

Sdieritz has seen flood waters take over his basement plenty of times. Just last year, he says water rose to nearly five feet, almost filling up the room.

"I can't put anything in my basement anymore. If I want to keep it, can't put it in the basement.  I had to go rent a garage just to have storage," Sdieritz said.

Covington is considered an 'entitlement city' by HUD. Each year, they get money to assess community needs. Last year, they received around $1.8 million.

They have to draft a five-year plan, and then each year, an annual plan to address that year's needs. Sewer systems were not part of the five-year plan developed last year.

"The sewer issue was not necessarily something that came up during that planning process as something that should be funded with these CDBG funds," said Larisa Sims, Covington's assistant city manager.

But, it's a priority if you ask those living in fear of water and sewage pouring into their home.

"I'm sure they have a huge list, but I think they should do something to aid in our flooding, repair sewers, clean them out," said Nomi Schawe-Layne, who lives in Covington.

At least one speaker at the meeting at Covington's city hall had the flooding problems at the top of their list. But, spending that money on anything isn't so simple. There are certain criteria and requirements to be met before they're spent, even if it ends up going to flood relief.

"If it meets the national objective, and it is a priority of the community, we can take a look at it," said Sims.

City Manager Larry Klein told FOX19 that there are capital improvement projects in the works dealing with flood relief. He says this year they'll work with SD1, and will bid a job later this year to spend about $1 million for flood relief efforts.

No decisions were made on how the city will spend that money. They're awaiting final work on exactly how much they'll receive, which will happens in a few months.

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