Commonwealth Journal

News Live

January 22, 2014

Unified government plan to be unveiled

Public invited to hear results of SPCU study at Center tonight

Somerset —

A 10-month study on feasibility of unified local governments in Pulaski County will be discussed tonight at The Center for Rural Development. The event, in a Somerset-Pulaski County Chamb-er of Commerce “Business After Hours” format, will begin at 6 p.m. and the public, elected officials and candidates for public office are urged to attend.
Luke B. Schmidt, president of Louisville-based consulting firm L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, will make a formal presentation on the study's findings, according to Brook Ping, chair of Somerset-Pulaski County United (SPCU), a group of about 150 local business and community leaders.
None of the study’s findings has been released up to now. However, a news release from SPCU said a broad base of the study includes an analysis of existing governmental structures in Pulaski County, an examination of select community unified government structures in the United States and an overview of how to form unified governments in Kentucky and Pulaski County.
SPCU has emphasized from the onset that the $35,000 study will not advocate unification of city and county governments; only determine the feasibility of unified governments. They have pointed out that Somerset, with its current population of 11,296, is the 33rd largest city in Kentucky. Unified, with a population of more than 63,000, Somerset, now a third-class city, would be the third largest city in the state, qualifying for 2nd-class status.
  Ping pointed out that unification, if approved by voters, is a slow-moving procedure. He estimated it would take at least four years.
  “Lots of questions have been raised about unified government and what it might mean to the community,” said Schmidt. “Our presentation will begin to answer these questions with real data about the current form of government in Pulaski County, contrasted with how communities with unified governments operate. Clearly, opportunities exist to take Pulaski County's good government and perhaps make it even better,” he commented.

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