“Unified Government” Study released in Pulaski County WYMT-TV (Hazard)

Article originally posted to WYMT-TV web site http://www.wkyt.com/wymt/home/headlines/Unified-Government-Study-released-in-Pulaski-County-241772741.html


The Pulaski County Unified Government Study Findings Presentation was held Thursday at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset. The study was commissioned by “Somerset-Pulaski County United” and the Pulaski County Fiscal Court and was conducted by a Louisville-based consulting firm.

A study to explore a unified government in Pulaski County that was the topic of conversation in Somerset Thursday, but what exactly is a “unified government” anyway?

“It’s essentially a merger of two or more local governments.  Instead of having, say four cities and one county government.  In theory, a combined or unified government could consolidate all of those governments into one streamlined government,” said Luke Schmidt of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, the firm that conducted the study.

And that was the theory presented to dozens of community members.  More specifically, organizers say the goal was to explain how such a government could be implemented in the future.

“We just want to educate the community on what the possibilities are for economic development and opportunity in Pulaski county and Somerset,” said Brook Ping of Somerset – Pulaski County United.

But not everyone in the area supports the idea of unifying municipal governments.  The city of Somerset elected not to participate in the study, its mayor saying such a path would have negative consequences.

“It’s not in the best interest of our citizens, or voters of Somerset, to take our resources and the efforts we’ve made and to virtually give them away to the county,” said  Eddie Girdler, mayor of Somerset.

But organizers behind the study say this presentation should not be misinterpreted as a vote of support for a unified government, but merely as a starting point to begin the conversation.