Cities Encouraged to Oppose Auditor's Airport Board Recommendations
"Whereas, we believe it is counterproductive to the health, welfare and financial interest of the citizens of Kenton County to have our rightful ownership of CVG compromised by having our control stripped away for political reasons as outlined by the State Auditor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, himself a resident of the City of Lexington, and supported by his political allies present and future, as well as those hoping to gain an interest for FREE..."
Kenton County Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus offered a preview of the resolution he plans to introduce before the Fiscal Court at its October 28 meeting. The outgoing county leader stood before the Kenton County Mayors Group during its monthly meeting, held Saturday at Taylor Mill's Pride Park.
The topic of the Kenton County Airport Board which oversees the Greater Cincinnati/Nothern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) has dominated political and government discussions in the county all year. First, a series of articles in the Cincinnati Enquirer emerged, critical of the board's expenditures on travel and meals. The articles preceded the resignations of three board members and an examination of the board by State Auditor Adam Edelen. It was arguably the main issue in May's Republican primary for Judge-Executive between Arlinghaus and County Commissioner Kris Knochelmann who went on to win.
Edelen's returned a report critical of the expenditures and of Arlinghaus who appoints all seven of the board's voting members, and also sugested a restructuring of the board that would eliminate the non-voting advisory committee and expand the voting board to eleven members. Those members would be appointed by all three Northern Kentucky counties' respective Fiscal Courts (3 for Kenton, 2 for Boone, 2 for Campbell) as well as the Governor of Kentucky (1), the Governor of Ohio (1), the Mayor of Cincinnati (1), and Hamilton County, OH (1).
Knochelmann, who will become Judge-Executive in January, announced last week a local task force to review those recommendations and ultimately work toward the creation of legislation that would be considered in Frankfort when the General Assembly convenes early next year.
"My thing is this," Arlinghais said. "If the board is restructured and there is a task force put together, we understand, to look at this, this task force needs to be aware that this is an asset of Kenton County."
Edelen said in his report that the airport does not belong to Kenton County, though it was created with Kenton County money in the 1940s and has been governed by it since.
"If they divvy this thing up and take away control from the citizens of Kenton County, in my opinion, it's a taking."
Arlinghaus explained that when he read the oath of office to swear in the Ohio residents on the board, he deliberately left out the line about being a resident of Kentucky.
"And he's going to be indicted after he leaves office," Draud said as the room laughed.
But that could possibly be no laughing matter. Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn was also in attendance Saturday and weighed in. He said if someone were to complain to the Kenton County Attorney that the oath was not delivered properly and that the constitution was violated, he would have to serve a summons or warrant. "I'm just warning everybody here," Korzenborn said.
Knochelmann said that County Attorney Garry Edmondson was asked to review whether it was legal to appoint Ohio residents and the attorney, Knochelmann said, "thought it was an issue".
"I think having someone on the board from Ohio doesn't hurt us a bit," Knochelmann said. "Whether it can be done legally in the future, we don't know yet."
Photo: Knochelmann watches Arlinghaus pass out copies of his proposed resolution/RCN