Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelman Updates Rotary

by Pam Goetting on August 5, 2015

Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelman

Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelman

FLORENCE – Solutions for the most demanding social and economic issues in Northern Kentucky will require bi-partisan effort across Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, according to the top official in Kenton County.

“These three counties will succeed or fail on their collective strengths,” said Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelman,

Knochelman reflected on the successes and challenges he has encountered during his first six months in office at a meeting of the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, July 27. He pointed to reorganization of the Kenton County Airport Board and growth at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport as examples of successes.

The Kentucky General Assembly adopted legislation in March that created a 13-member airport board. Eight representatives from Kenton County, two from Boone County, one each from Campbell County and Grant Count, and a member appointed by the governor comprise the board. Each member has an equal vote.

“The set-up allows for good discussion,” Knochelman said. “Most people are saying this is a good move.”

The addition of low-cost carriers Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines also has been a good move, according to the judge-executive. Since their arrival, airline fares have dropped from among the highest in the country to among the lowest.

“More important, when the airport was bustling with flights, 80 percent were not originating flights so they didn’t drive the economy,” Knochelman noted. “That’s flipped. About 85 percent are originating flights now and that gives you a healthy economy.”

Maintaining a healthy environment and economic growth continue to create significant challenges. Northern Kentucky is still trying to figure out how to combat the heroin problem. More than 30 agencies are involved in the regional effort and 1,200 people are getting treatment, but “getting 1,200 people back to a normal life is not easy to do,” Knochelman said.

In addition, infrastructure problems pose substantial barriers for residential and commercial development. Expansion of sewer systems into new areas and repair of outdated systems in other areas of the region are costly.

“We need to have wide discussion of what it takes to get in shape for development,” Knochelman said. “Truth is, it takes money.

“ We just have to get our heads together and deal responsibly with that.”