Instead, the group is merely wanting to do an in-depth study to see if such an idea would even be feasible or beneficial for Pulaski County and its residents.
“What we are recommending is that we have an opportunity to see what options exist out there,” said Girdler. “We are simply asking to conduct a study to see how our government is functioning, to see what potential opportunities may exist. At the end of the day, the people of this community as a whole are the ones who will decide.”
Part of the controversy around the study has been SUPC’s plan to ask both Somerset and Pulaski County governments for aid in funding the $35,000 effort. Girdler said he respects concerns about using taxpayer money for that purpose. However, he noted that when people ask why should local municipalities be approached about something that can be paid for privately, he has a reason at the ready.
“When this was being first discussed, we thought, ‘Well, we’re just going to fund this ourselves, raise the money privately, conduct the study, and then bring the issue out and tell all the local forms of government what it says,’” said Girdler. “Well, as you can imagine, more than likely if we did something like that, people are going to say this is a biased study, it’s not objective, it only serves one purpose. So we felt it appropriate to approach the two entities that would be affected by this the most, so to speak ... and ask each entity to fund a third of the study, and we as a committee would raise the remaining third privately. We wanted to give them the opportunity to have a vested interest in what we’re doing.
“It’s a public-private partnership,” he added. “It happens every day in communities across Kentucky.”