PIP Breakfast Features Merger Pitch
By Candice Freeland
PADUCAH, KY - John Williams Jr. says he's aware that not everyone is in favor of a merger between the Paducah and McCracken County governments. Even though he says "I'm the underdog at the moment," he believes it's best for Paducah.
Speaking at the Power in Partnership Breakfast Thursday in Paducah, Williams said merged government is smaller, more efficient government.
"Public employment is actually protected in this document. So if we have someone who's employed by city or county government today, other than elected officials, they will have a job after this passes. But what happens as you go forward is, the pressure to increase public employment, and the cost of government, is much much less going into the future."
Williams said that citizens of Paducah and McCracken County will be better represented at commission meetings, as there will be nine people elected to represent different parts of the city, and three at-large representatives. The city would be divided into rural, suburban, and city area. The rural representatives would include such areas as Melber and Ragland, while the suburban portion of the city would include Reidland and Lone Oak.
Williams said that currently, only two Paducah City Commissioners actually reside within the city limits.
So, what if the merger fails? What does he plan to do next, if anything?
"We've been on this system for a long time. Most communities that head down this path to get to this point end up doing something. I mean, there are various things that we could merge that are less than what's on the ballot. That would be a decision of a group in the future. Or if it doesn't pass, you've always got the option of coming back."
He pointed to Athens, Georgia, A city that had voters cast ballots four times before the county and city governments finally merged.
Williams says he wants the best for Paducah because it's his home, and all he can do is hope.
Voters will decide the issue in November.