“We’re right at the front end of the study,” said Schmidt. “I think it is a very interesting study.”
Schmidt said the study at this point has three goals:
(1) Do a good and thorough examination of local government infrastructure in the five incorporated cities in Pulaski County; get a good understanding of how each is organized and funded, and how they do things.
(2) Study other governmental jurisdictions that have merged; find out how it works.
(3) Look at potential benefits of merged governments in Pulaski County.
The completed study, if favorable toward a unified city-county government, would be presented 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. Since Somerset and Ferguson have opted out, it’s not clear how this will work. Schmidt has said cities opting out won’t 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.