“This has nothing to do with EMS,” Ping said. “This is about uniting Somerset into a 64,000 population city, making it the third largest city in Kentucky.”
Later during last night’s meeting, Councilor Rutherford revisited Mayor Girdler’s comments taking him to task for his diatribe and basically apologizing to the SPCU members.
“The mayor shouldn’t have scolded you,” Rutherford told the visitors.
“I disagree with you but that’s fine,” Girdler retorted.
The rift between SPCU and the city has escalated sharply since SPCU’s press conference last Thursday unveiling its intentions to study the feasibility of a city-county government merger.
Bobby Clue, executive director of Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that the City of Somerset, in the aftermath of last week’s announcement, had cut off its funding to the Chamber. He declined to specify the amount lost, but when pressed he described the city’s contribution as “world class.”
City councilors did not discuss reasons for suddenly cutting off the Chamber’s funding during last night’s session.
Sen. Girdler indicated he was somewhat surprised with Mayor Girdler’s reaction to SPCU’s request. He referenced Mayor Girdler’s comments from a Sept, 2, 2011, Commonwealth Journal article:
“...there have been some staff discussion about the advantages of merger some services with the county...
“I think in the future in relation to federal and state money it will become necessary to merge some city and county services...
“I think it is time of have good discussions, more dialogue (with the county),” Mayor Girdler said in the article.
SPCU has repeatedly explained that is simply wants to study the pros and cons of a merger of Somerset, Ferguson, Burnside, Science Hill and Pulaski County governments.
“The study is simply that,” said Luke Schmidt, president of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, who is acting as consultant for SPCU. “It is the voters of Pulaski County who will decide if they want a united government.”