Commonwealth Journal

Local News

June 20, 2013

Ferguson opting out of unified government

Burnside, Science Hill take wait-and-see stance

(Continued)

Fergsuon —

Schmidt, president of L.B. Schmidt and Associates, is consultant for Somerset-Pulaski County United (SPCU)’s announced plans for a study to determine if merged city-county governments would be more efficient and feasible for Pulaski County’s more than 63,000 residents.
SPCU, chaired by developer Brook Ping and composed of more than 80 of the county’s movers and shakers, has made it clear from the start it is not advocating merged governments, only a study to determine the feasibility.
Schmidt recently told the Commonwealth Journal he will soon request a meeting with Girdler. “I hope we can meet ... that he (Girdler) will allow us to get a good look at the city’s operation.”
“I haven’t been asked to meet (with Schmidt),” Girdler said this week. The mayor repeated his response would take a southern twang: “Oh how nice, but no thanks.”
“Does that mean you won’t meet with Schmidt?” pursued a reporter.
“Yes,” Girdler reiterated.
Highly publicized and sometimes criticized was Girdler’s negative reaction when Somerset-Pulaski County United asked Somerset to help pay for a study to determine if merged city-county governments would be efficient and feasible for Pulaski County’s more than 63,000 residents.
The $35,000 cost of the study was initially suggested to be paid with a third of the money from Somerset, a third from Pulaski County government and a third to be paid by SPCU members.
Somerset City Council not only refused to pay anything for the study, but directed the city’s legal department to get whatever help its needs to defend Somerset’s current status in court.
Pulaski Fiscal Court greeted the SPCU request more warmly and granted $11,667 to pay its share of the cost of the study. Two thirds of the cost apparently will be paid with contributions from members of SPCU.

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