Northern Ky. judge-execs say collaboration will be the key to the areas success

09/19/2017 02:40 PM

ERLANGER – All three northern Kentucky judge-executives say that the key to the region being able to continue to thrive is to save money collaborating on projects and finding creative ways to obtain money for infrastructure.

Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, Campbell County Judge-Executive Steve Pendery and Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann were guest speakers at the annual Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Eggs ‘N Issues State of Northern Kentucky breakfast in Erlanger on Tuesday.

Moore used the example of the three counties collaborative effort to design, build, and implement a new $30 million trunked radio system for first responders at a cost of $19,485,134, resulting in substantial savings totaling more than $10 million dollars through the combination of direct discounts and the elimination of redundant equipment rendered unnecessary due to the regional design.

“It didn’t take us long to realize that each county building their own P25 800 MHz radio system, with everyone having their own controller, towers pointing inward just to our county, made no sense,” Moore said. “Designing this regionally has saved several millions of dollars.”

Another issue, especially with the states pension crisis brewing, is working to find creative ways to get money for infrastructure projects.

While Knochelmann says that there will always have to be some partnership with the state, there are other things that can be done to lower the money needed from the state and federal government.

“You have to allow for private investment, you have to make sure that we tell the story, and that’s a lot of what has to happen in the community right now,” Knochelmann said. “We understand that if you want to have growth, and if you want to have replacement of your existing infrastructure, it takes dollars that no presently exist.”

Moore says that he’s found that a way to get state and federal grant dollars is to put some local money towards a particular project.

“To receive these grants, you need to have some skin in the game,” Moore said. “These things are going to be tools that we’re going to need at the local level to partner with the development community, with local investors, county and city governments, to leverage our local resources to be able to receive these grants.”

Pendery believes that the three judge-executives need to continue to work with Gov. Matt Bevin and says that it’s essential for the states pension crisis to be solved or any money for infrastructure will be non-existent.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to get behind the effort to reform the pension plans because it really in truth for the next generation, there isn’t going to be money for anything.”

As for the I-71/75 Ohio River bridge project, Pendery says the so called eastern by-pass is not a solution and that tolls will have to be part of the equation id a new bridge is built.

“I think it’s become apparent that the eastern bypass is not an answer to the congestion on the Brent Spence corridor,” Pendery said. “It’s going to involve tolls in all likelihood, there is no scenario that the federal government is going to swoop in and pay for this thing, even if Elaine Chao is the transportation secretary, and the people of Cincinnati and northern Kentucky know that.”


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