Commonwealth Journal

News Live

July 13, 2013

Schmidt exploring distant cities for study

(Continued)

Somerset —

 “I still would like to sit down with him (Girdler),” Schmidt said. He said earlier that studies of this type are controversial “ ... and that’s a good thing. Merger of governments is not to be taken lightly. We are disappointed but we respect that.”
   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.
  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.
 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.
  Eubank, because its corporate limits straddles the Pulaski-Lincoln county line, would not be eligible to be a part of a merged city-county government, according to state law.
  Existing boundaries of incorporated cities in a merged city-county government would disappear and the cities would revert to communities without governments.
 The completed study, if favorable toward a unified city-county government, would be presented to local governmental bodies.
  Then, according to law, 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. Somerset and Ferguson apparently would not participate and, according to Schmidt, “would not have a seat at the table.”
  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. 
  Any type of merged governments must be approved by voters of Pulaski County.

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