Friday, May 24, 2024

Kenton County to establish Transportation Improvement District – LINK nky

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Kenton County is looking to create its own Transportation Improvement District — a funding vehicle that would help finance countywide infrastructure projects.

On Tuesday, the fiscal court conducted a first reading of an ordinance that would create a Transportation Improvement District, a special-purpose governmental entity created to coordinate and fund transportation-related projects within a specific geographic area.

“This is a big deal,” Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann said during the meeting.

Kenton County would be the second in Northern Kentucky to approve a district. Boone County first approved the creation of its district at a fiscal court meeting on Feb. 6. Within the Greater Cincinnati area, Warren, Butler, Clermont and Hamilton counties also have Transportation Improvement Districts.

“Boone County just recently adopted theirs and we felt like this is a tool that we can probably get some long range benefit out of,” County Administrator Joe Shriver said.

The ability to create a Transportation Improvement District in the bluegrass state comes from the Kentucky House of Representatives passing HB 274 – legislation that authorized qualifying city and county governments to develop these districts. Gov. Andy Beshear signed the bill into law in May 2022.

The governing structure of a Transportation Improvement District requires the creation of a board of trustees appointed by a county legislative body. The board’s responsibilities include adopting bylaws, overseeing district affairs, ensuring smooth functioning, approving projects and ensuring compliance with the legislative framework.

The district also has financing authority that is subject to the governing legislative body’s approval. This authority allows the district to issue revenue bonds, receive grants from local, state, and federal funding sources, and court private investments.

“This would be a great place to park grant money, as well as local participation and the ability to enter into agreements with Boone County’s TID to do some of those things, so it’s a tool we don’t have to do anything with it right now, but we wanted to create that mechanism and get that thing activated,” Shriver said.

Eligible costs under a Transportation Improvement District include construction, property acquisition, demolition or removal services, site preparation, equipment, communication facilities, financing expenses, studies and professional services.

A district’s governing board of trustees is required by law to include five voting members – two of whom must be members of the local chamber of commerce or local countywide business group organization, one non-voting member appointed by the largest city in the county, and one non-voting member appointed by the county planning commission. All board members are required to be residents of Kenton County.

In order to authorize projects, the board must hold a public meeting and publish a meeting notice to field questions and input from community members. Once the board authorizes a project, it would require the final approval from the county’s governing body, or in this case, the Kenton County Fiscal Court.

A second reading will take place during Kenton County’s next fiscal court, slated for Tuesday, May 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the Kenton County Government Center in Covington.

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