Commonwealth Journal

Local News

April 23, 2013

County to help fund SPCU study

Somerset —

County officials have agreed to help fund a study into the possible benefits of a merged government structure. 
“I feel it’s very important for the community to be behind this, both financially and morally,” said Brooke Ping, Stonebrook Development CEO and chair of Somerset-Pulaski County United (SPCU), during Tuesday’s Pulaski County Fiscal Court meeting. 
Fiscal court on Tuesday voted to give SPCU — a committee that has grown from around 50 members to more than 120 — the requested $11,667, which is a third of the total cost of the study. 
The total cost stands at $35,000. 
“All we’re talking about is cooperation within the community,” said Ping about the study. 
In a roll call vote taken Tuesday, all but one magistrate voted to help fund the study. Magistrate Mike Wilson, 2nd District, was the lone voice of dissent — although he emphasized that he was “100 percent” behind SPCU’s efforts.
“ ... I’m not for money coming out of the county money, the taxpayers’ money, on it,” said Wilson. “I’ve thought this thing over hard for two weeks. I’m not cool with that.” 
Wilson suggested that 70 people could fund the study by chipping in $500 each. He even said he would gladly chip in $500 toward the effort. 
“If there’s not 70 people in a county as big as Pulaski not willing to give $500 apiece, this thing ain’t worth doing,” said Wilson.
4th District Magistrate Glenn Maxey pointed out that raising the money isn’t the issue. SPCU is seeking out a public-private partnership with backing from local governments. 
“People ask us why we don’t fund this thing ourselves,” said Ping. “Why? I’ll tell you why. That (the taxpayer) is exactly who the people this is going to affect. This is the kind of thing the government should be doing. 

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