Keck to discuss city annexation through town hall

Carla Slavey

Mayor Alan Keck said he soon plans on opening up the discussion of annexation in an effort to raise Somerset's population from the current 12,000 to 20,000.

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck will be bringing his vision of growing the city directly to the people, he said at Monday night's council meeting.

Keck has said in months past that one of his goals was to see Somerset's population increase to 20,000 - a goal that can best easily be achieved through annexation.

Keck gave few details on that plan during the meeting, saying only that he will begin the discussion through town hall meetings in some of the areas to be considered for annexation. He also plans to address some of those areas' residents tonight during a Facebook Live stream.

"I want this to turn into a community discussion," he said. "I do think that it's best for us to grow. I think that many of you have echoed that our growth in the city of Somerset is long overdue."

He added that he felt the city had "a tremendous opportunity to become 'the city on the lake,' the capital of Lake Cumberland, and a community of over 20,000 people that can really start to supercharge our retail, commercial and industrial growth."

Keck said that, in exchange for paying city taxes, the government can offer a quality police service, "which we have one of the most tremendous police departments in the state of Kentucky. Response times that almost anybody would be proud of."

There is also the promise of a fully-staffed, full time fire department that would allow homeowners a reduction on insurance premiums.

In a May meeting, Keck said that natural gas lines may be installed in areas "over time," but that the city could not promise water, gas or sewers to all areas.

No school district lines would be affected.

For his part, Keck promised to listen to the people, both their interests and their concerns, admitting he has heard from some who are not sold on the idea.

"I've talked to some magistrates who are leery. They're skeptical. I've also gone out into areas and they say 'Alan, what are you waiting on?'"

One major aspect that Keck said he was highly in favor of was adding to Somerset's voter base - even if it might mean adding potential election opponents.

"A bigger piece of our community gets a voice in city government, he said. "I very well might be annexing my next opponent, and that's okay. I never ran for this job so I could have it for a long time."