Commonwealth Journal

Local News

April 11, 2013

County offices would remain intact under unified government

(Continued)

Somerset —

  Magistrates on Pulaski Fiscal Court set their own salaries. Each of the five magistrate makes $30,000 a year in addition to $3,600 in undocumented expense money. The office of magistrate, like constable, is constitutional and can’t be abolished without a constitutional amendment.
  Kentucky Revised Statues relating to charter county government has little or nothing to say about employees and positions, Ross noted.
If the proposed study is funded and consolidation of governments deemed feasible, Pulaski Fiscal Court, Somerset City Council and governing bodies of Burnside, Ferguson and Science Hill by ordinance would create an official Unified Government Commission made up of between 20 and 40 members to plan a structure for a unified city-county government.
Pulaski Fiscal Court would appoint half the members of a Unified Government Commission, and the remaining members would be appointed by participating cities prorated on population. 
The commission would propose a new government structure to be presented to voters in the county. If approved, existing governments would be disbanded and the new governmental structure put in place. Committee leaders say implementation of a city-county government would take up to four years, or more.
Somerset City Council has vowed by resolution to avoid unification by any means, including legal action. Burnside Mayor Ron Jones mentioned “uprising” if anybody messes with its boundaries. Science Hill and Ferguson are seeking more information about the plan. Eubank straddles the Pulaski-Lincoln county line and would not be a part of the unification.

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