Should the plan be realized, 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.
While cities have the option to not be a part of the unified government and take a representative seat at that table, Jones is of the mind that the change could be a positive one for Burnside.
“As the economy falters, your towns are going to have greater and greater strains on their resources,” he said. “I would think that in our area, if we had one city hall, one police chief, one fire chief instead of every 400 or 500 people deciding they want their own mayor, council, fire department, police department and so forth, if they could haul all that into one organization, you sure could do a lot more with a lot less.”
As such, Jones says that he would support a unified government, as long as Burnside received adequate representation under the new set-up.
“I’d hate to see Burnside lose its identity, and maybe towns would not lose their identities, but from a taxpayer’s standpoint — and I am a taxpayer — I would be in favor of more services, better services, and less cost to me,” said Jones.
“I would want Burnside to have good representation,” he added. “I would think that the organization would want each town to be represented well. Otherwise, you’ve got one group or one train of thought and everyone else being forced to go along with it.
“If it looked like that wouldn’t happen (Burnside being represented fairly), I would not be for it.”