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County Contracts with Regional Group to Help Develop Smaller Areas in Cities

The Kenton County Fiscal Court voted this week to contract with Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED) for assistance with development opportunities at smaller sites than Tri-Ed typically works with.
 
The agreement involves $150,000 from Kenton County so that, in part, Tri-ED can hire Pat Wingo to assist cities and the county develop smaller areas. County Commissioner Joe Nienaber, who previously served as mayor of Ft. Wright, said that there were areas in his city that were small, like 5 acres or so, that were not site-ready and were not on the radar screen for projects.
 
"I know that in Ft. Wright, about 65 percent of revenue came from businesses," said Nienaber. "If our 19 cities can find the businesses to offset some of the taxing of houses, that's good. But I want to be 100 percent assured that this help is going to be for Kenton County."
 
Commissioner Jon Draud said that he didn't feel comfortable with the deal.
 
"Is it a legitimate priority for the county?," he asked. He said he would support it, and remarked that if the county had the money after all the other things they had to spend on, it would probably be a good thing.
 
"I just don't want to hire them and put them on site-ready areas," Nienaber said, adding that that would make him upset.
 
Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann said that he agreed with the concerns and that it would be easier for the county not to be involved, but that then the cities' mayor and administrators would be individually tasked with working on these sites. John Stanton, the county's director of external affairs, said that Tri-ED leaders would be in contact with him and that if the work was not satisfactory, changes could be made.
 
Other notes:
 
A pavement management study was done by Infrastructure Management Services to assess the condition of the roads in the county. The results show a pavement condition index of 59. The desired level should be between 60 and 65, the study said, so the county is very close. On a scale of 0 to 100, most of the roads scored 50 to 60, which is the national average. Streets that are considered excellent, however, are about 4 percent, and the desired level is 12 percent.
 
The point of the study is to change the mindset of the county from considering the worst streets first, and instead planning for a more constant minimal repair on streets that aren't that extremely damaged to extend the pavement's life. Commissioners agreed with the assessment.
 
The Kenton County Emergency Communications Center was presented with an accreditation certificate, making it one of only 12 such centers in Kentucky. Independence Police Chief Tony Lucas presented the certificate to Executive Director Tommy Thompson and Assistant Director Ashley Hawks at the meeting, and Thompson acknowledged the efforts of his predecessor, Ed Butler, who started the accreditation process when he was at the county. Judge Knochelmann also presented a proclamation declaring April 9 to 15 National Public Safety Telecommunicators week.
 
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Top photo: Independence Police Chief Tony Lucas presents the Accreditation certificate to Tommy Thompson, Executive Director of the Emergency Communications Center, and Assistant Director Ashley Hawks.