Commonwealth Journal

Local News

April 4, 2013

Calling for a Unified Pulaski

Community leaders want to study feasibility feasibility of united government for city-county

Somerset —  

A group of about 60 community leaders, clustered as Somerset-Pulaski County United (SPCU), is embarking on a study to determine if a consolidated or united government in Pulaski County would be more efficient and more responsive to the county’s 63,000 residents.
“This is a study, nothing more,” said SPCU chair and local developer Brook Ping. He stressed that simply conducting the study does not mean any local governments are unifying. Under Kentucky law only voters can determine whether local governments consolidate. And that will only occur after a formal plan is developed by an official Unified Government Commission whose members would be appointed by participating city councils and Pulaski Fiscal Court.
The unified government proposal was unveiled during a press conference held yesterday morning at The Center for Rural Development.
Briefly, the plan as explained by consultant L.B. Schmidt, president of Louisville-based L.B. Schmidt & Associates, SPCU would complete a study in about four months and present its findings to local governmental bodies.
Then, 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. “That means they won’t have a seat at the table,” observed Schmidt.

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