Knochelmann: Redevelopment of County Building, IRS Sites Important
Next to his family, the things Kris Knochelmann loves most are Kenton County and Covington.
The Kenton County Judge-Executive said that to the Covington Business Council during its monthly luncheon at the Madison Event Center on Thursday where he discussed his first 90 days in office.
He talked about growing up in Taylor Mill and then Licking Riverside, about bowling at the lanes that were in the building on Scott Boulevard recently torn down to make way for new construction for Gateway Community & Technical College. Since assuming the county's top elected position, Knochelmann has only been to his private full-time job about three days, he joked. He owns Schneller Heating & Air on Ninth Street.
"That speaks to how I do things. I like to bring the best people in and let them do their job, hold them accountable to that, and hopefully do that in a very cooperative nature," Knochelmann said. "I really do have a mindset that the vision for Kenton County and Northern Kentucky that I would like to have is one of cooperation where everybody wins."
Knochelmann said that the county finds itself in "pretty good financial shape" with strong reserves and very little debt, except for the $40 million jail. "No one should worry that the county is going bankrupt any time soon."
Changes on the horizon include a restructuring of the Kenton County Airport Board, a cause that Knochelmann championed during his campaign last year against incumbent and fellow Republican Steve Arlinghaus. A series of media reports and a scathing report by State Auditor Adam Edelen contributed to the resignations of the board's chair, vice chair, and a third member, and changed the way the board spends money for travel and dining. In July, the board will be changed even more thanks to a piece of legislation that passed the Kentucky General Assembly this year, giving voting power to seats occupied by appointees from Boone, Campbell, and Grant Counties for the first time.
Currently, all seven voting members are appointed by Kenton County's Judge-Executive.
The airport has struggled in recent years with expensive and limited flights, though it has added more low-cost carriers lately.
"I think we as a community and as business leaders can talk about how great an asset we have in the airport," Knochelmann said, specifically applauding the work of Candace McGraw, CEO of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), and her staff. Though the airport is in Boone County, it was originally financed and is still owned and operated by the Kenton County Airport Board. "It's easy to get in and out of. It's a good environment. It's not old and dingy and we need to continue to spread that word when we're outside the area. We have an obligation to say we have this great thing. Let's just talk about it and make sure it's successful."