Kenton Co. splits vote on how to fund dispatch center

Kenton Co. splits vote on how to fund dispatch center

The Kenton County Fiscal Court is split over whether or not to pass an ordinance to change the way residents pay for emergency dispatch service.

Leaders split the vote 2-2 Tuesday night after hearing public comments from Kenton County residents and Duke Energy representatives.

Judge-executive Steve Arlinghaus and Commissioner Jon Draud voted for the ordinance while Commissioners Beth Sewell and Kris Knochelmann voted against it.

The issue of funding is a developing problem as more and more people use cell phones instead of a land line. As a result the county is coming up short in fees to finance the new consolidated dispatch center in Independence.

Arlinghaus says county leaders looked at a number of funding options, and the public indicated that they would rather have a $6 a month fee on electric bills as opposed to a $35 added fee on vehicle registrations.

Arlinghaus seemed surprised by the decision.

"It just doesn't make any sense and I'm very disappointed. We've had this discussion, we've talked about this for the last few months and every time we talked about the electric fee there was no resistance," says Arlinghaus.

But Duke Energy spokesperson Blair Schroeder says it is unfair to expect a private company to perform a public service such as billing its customers for an un-related service.

"Ultimately we believe that this is an overreach of the county. We believe that this is something that they do not have the legal authority to pursue and we are prepared to continue to try to explore all avenues to make sure that we protect our customers and our right as a private business," says Schroeder.

Without a majority of yes or no votes, the commissioners will have the opportunity to vote again on the issue in the next two weeks.

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