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The state of Northern Kentucky tops discussion at 'Eggs 'N Issues'

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Tana Weingartner
/
WVXU

Northern Kentucky's three judges executive discussed the state of the region Tuesday morning during the Northern Kentucky Chamber's annual Eggs and Issues forum.

Steve Arlinghaus, Gary Moore and Steve Pendery all said their counties are on good financial footing in this election year. Moore highlighted 13 consecutive quarters of payroll tax revenue increases in Boone County.

Major topics included workforce issues, the airport board, and areas of regional cooperation.

As the only outgoing judge executive, Arlinghaus didn't hold back when asked about the airport board.

"Everybody wants a piece of it," said Arlinghaus. "I know Boone County said they should have a couple seats because it's in Boone County. I'd be willing to trade payroll taxes for a couple of seats." (Laughter from audience.) "And I've made that offer to Hamilton County (Ohio) as well. Nobody wants to buy an interest in the airport; they don't want to share in that regard of it. They didn't want to be part of the risk (when the airport was created), they don't want to be part of the risk now, but they want part of the benefits."

Up for re-election in November, Moore and Pendery took more moderate approaches each saying they'd support more widespread membership.

All three agree it's important to make Kentucky more business friendly and continue looking for ways to work together. They pointed to the new joint 911 system as a recent example. Moore says merging services within each county and across county lines is more efficient.

"We already have combined law enforcement, combined 911 dispatch, county-wide building inspection, county-wide planning and zoning," says Moore. "Now we have to just dig deeper. The regionalization recently of water rescue...   Sometimes it's not actually combining it but it's contracting with one another. If Campbell County does something well, I don't mind contracting with them to provide that service for us in Boone County."

Each judge executive also expressed support for the local option sales tax plan being debated in Frankfort and around the commonwealth. If passed into law it would allow communities to vote to levy a one-cent sales tax on themselves to build a specific project.

Campbell County's Steve Pendery dealing with the heroin epidemic is another place the three counties can work together.

"The three counties are working closely with a broad coalition of partners to do something about that," says Pendery. "In Campbell County we're going to have a substance abuse program in a remodeled facility that we're about to bid work for."

All three also pointed to partnerships with Gateway Community College, NKU and other schools to train employees to fill gaps in the manufacturing workforce.