Press Release: Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation Endorses the Establishment of the Unification Review Commission

Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation Endorses the Establishment of the Unification Review Commission

EIF is the Fifth Organization to Opt to Learn More about Unified Government

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (November 23, 2011) – Hardin County United (HCU) today announced that the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation Board of Directors recently voted to endorse the establishment of the Unification Review Commission. The Foundation is the fifth organization in Hardin County to step forward and state its support for the development of the Commission.

“HCU is pleased to have the support of the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation,” said Luke B. Schmidt, President, L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, and consultant to HCU. “The Foundation recognizes the value that the Commission brings to the table regarding the development of a comprehensive plan that can be presented to the voters concerning how unified government might work in Hardin County,” said Schmidt.

Under Kentucky law, local governments can unify under the Unified Local Government concept by combining county government with one or more participating city governments. Participation is optional and in order for a local government entity to potentially participate in unified government it must first pass an ordinance which establishes a Unification Review Commission.

Once established, the Commission, which will consist of between 20 and 40 citizens appointed by the participating government bodies, will draft a unified government plan which will be presented to the voters for final approval. Passage of the ordinance does not in itself create merger, nor does it mean that any city council, or fiscal court, is approving merger.

“Hardin County has always been one of the most progressive communities in Kentucky,” said Ken Howard, HCU Governance Subcommittee Chairperson. “HCU appreciates the recognition on the part of the Foundation’s Board of Directors that it is important for the community to take the next step to actually develop a plan which will detail how unified government might be structured in the community. Only then will we know the answers to the many good questions which have been raised about this issue,” said Howard.

HCU believes that there are four primary benefits to be gained by unifying local governments, including:

1. The attainment of a new level of clout that will assist the entire community with economic development, the creation of new jobs and which will create Kentucky’s third largest community,

2. The ability for the community to speak with one voice and more efficiently target grants and appropriations which will benefit the entire community while improving the community’s standing and stature in Frankfort and Washington, D.C.,

3. Streamlined government which will result in the more efficient delivery of government services to all citizens, and,

4. The achievement of economies of scale which will result in the more efficient use of public resources (tax dollars)

The Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation joins the Hardin County Library Board of Trustees, the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Cecilia Ruritan Club and the Glendale Lions Club in calling for the creation of the Commission. Interested citizens can learn more about unified government and its benefits by visiting the HCU Web site: www.hardincountyunited.com.

Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010. The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies. HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee. Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.

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