By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FORT MITCHELL - All four first-term Republicans on Kenton Fiscal Court were returned to office for another four years in Tuesday's election.
Republican Kenton County Commissioners Barb Black, Dan Humpert and Adam Koenig easily defeated three Democratic challengers. In January, they will begin second terms that pay annual salaries of $35,039.
They will join incumbent Kenton County Judge-executive Dick Murgatroyd, a former state legislator, who defeated Democrat Patrick Hughes, a Fort Wright lawyer, 18,142 to 16,489 votes, in unofficial returns Tuesday.
The incumbents said their administration repaved nearly 40 miles of county roads, extended water and sewer lines to rural areas, improved recreation (including working to develop a county skate park), and enhanced public safety by investing in a 911 emergency dispatch system.
Mrs. Black, who faced a challenge from political newcomer Stephen Douglas Wright, had the highest margin of victory among the Kenton County commissioners, winning by 64 percent to 36 percent.
Mrs. Black, a registered nurse who formerly served on Taylor Mill City Commission and Edgewood City Council, waged an aggressive campaign against Mr. Wright, the owner of a Covington auto repair shop.
During her campaign, Mrs. Black said she had kept four main pledges to voters: to hold the line on taxes by voting against a proposed telephone service tax and a property tax increase; to improve government services and implement a government efficiency study; to vigorously oppose adult entertainment businesses by lobbying for an ordinance that strictly regulates such establishments; and to support pro-life policies by ensuring that the abortion drug RU-486 would never be dispensed by the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department.
During their campaign, the Democrats said the county suffered from poor leadership.
The Democratic challengers also maintained that the current Fiscal Court couldn't decide where to build a jail and raised taxes to pay for it.
They pledged to build a new county jail without raising taxes, and pledged to stop wasteful spending.
Any expansion or renovation of the jail was put on hold, however, with a legal challenge of a county payroll tax increase. The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled on Oct. 25 that Kenton County did not break the law when it raised its payroll tax nearly two years ago to help pay for a new jail. However, the case might be appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, so no funding is absolutely clear yet.
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