When SPCU approached Somerset City Council two weeks ago, Mayor Eddie Girdler quickly shot down the notion of the city paying for any part of the study, telling the group, “... don’t ask for money” when they requested to be put on the April 22 meeting agenda. “You want to do a study, do it yourself. Don’t ask the taxpayers to do your dirty work,” he added.
The fiscal court was more receptive, with Judge-Executive Barty Bullock saying that SPCU had the court’s “full support.” The court did not make any final decisions on funding for the study, however, and may address it again at their meeting this week.
Girdler said that if neither entity chooses to chip in finding, SPCU would fund the study entirely on their own. Burnside, however, was not asked to contribute to the needed amount of money.
If the study showed that a unified government would be a good idea and the people of each community throughout the county voted to be a part of it, 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.
Eubank, because its boundary extends into Lincoln County, would be prohibited by state law from participating in a unified government. Schmidt said he hopes some kind of agreement could be worked out so Eubank could feel a part of a united county government.
Any city can opt out of being a part of a unified government, but that means giving up a seat at the table.