Merger panel due next month

By CHARLES PEARL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

The 60-day clock is ticking for the formation of a merger commission.

The local Urge to Merge group turned in its petition, with more than 3,433 voters signatures, to the county clerk's office July 22. Therefore, the deadline for county and city governments to jointly appoint a merger commission is Sept. 20.

County Judge-Executive Teresa Barton, who, according to state law, will preside as chairwoman of the merger commission and be a voting member, has met twice recently with Mayor Bill May for planning and making sure the 60-day deadline is met.

They are recommending 26 merger commission members in addition to the judge-executive, with the City Commission appointing 15 members and Franklin Fiscal Court naming 11.

Barton said the ratio of proposed city-county members on the merger commission was determined by the city-county population ratio. According to the 2000 census, the total county population was 47,687. The city population was 27,741 or 58 percent of the total.

Barton and May drafted a merger commission nomination form for anyone interested in serving on the commission. The forms are available at City Hall, 315 Second St., and the judge-executive's office on the third floor of the Courthouse Annex, 315 W. Main St.; and can be received by e-mail or fax. To request a nomination form by phone, call City Hall at 875-8500; or the Office of the Judge-Executive at 875-8751.

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