By: Rachel Collier – firstname.lastname@example.org
HARDIN County, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) — Hardin County is one step closer to becoming the third largest community in Kentucky, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before it could happen.
A yellow shaded area shows where the majority of Hardin county residents live. “You have 85,000 people (in that area). That is easily the 3rd largest community in the state of Kentucky,” said Luke Schmidt, of Schmidt and Associates Consulting Firm.
Because the boundaries are dividing the cities, it is not the 3rd largest. Take those boundaries down and you have strength in numbers. In the past year, Luke Schmidt’s consulting firm has traveled to merged cities in Georgia and even to Lexington and Louisville. He says his team has learned that merging would be a plus for Hardin County, as well.
Hardin County United first needs to convince six city councils that merging is the right thing to do. Those cities are Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Vine Grove, West Point, Sonora, and Upton. “If any of the communities choose not to participate, they’re essentially left out of the process,” said Schmidt.
If those city councils decide to come up with a merger plan, voters have the final say. Hardin County Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard says the merger would streamline government and use tax dollars more efficiently.
But there is still a long road ahead. After all, it took Louisville three tries to merge.
The first informational meetings are next week. For local government officials, it is Wednesday at Hardin Memorial Hospital at 5:30PM.
The community forum is Thursday at John Hardin High School’s Performing Arts Center at 4:30PM.
If city councils approve, the public will vote in November of 2012.
If it is approved by voters, the merger would take about two years (2014) to go into effect.