• 401 Frederica Street, B-203
  • Owensboro, Kentucky 42301
  • (270) 685-2652 | FAX (270) 685-6074

Citizens Speak: Leaders Respond

Citizens Encourage Additional Forums on Unification

Six months ago, the Public Life Foundation conducted a forum on the issues surrounding the unification of Owensboro and Daviess County governments. Unification is currently under study by a task force appointed by the Owensboro Mayor and Daviess County Judge-Executive. Participants were introduced to the basic structure of local government and the reasons why there continues to be an interest in unification: tax inequities, duplication of services, inefficiencies; costs, increased bureaucracy, diluted leadership voice, etc. During the forum, participants examined advantages and disadvantages of three options to address these issues: 1. retain the current structure, 2. expand collaboration among local governments and departments, 3. consolidate local governments. Following the forum, participants completed a questionnaire. One hundred percent of the participants indicated that…

  • the forum helped them understand the unification issues and choices facing our community
  • the forum helped them gain a greater understanding of other points of view
  • others should participate in a similar forum
  • forums such as this should be held throughout the period that the city-county task force is doing its work (rather than wait until the task force completes its work)
  • the information was clear and easy to understand, fair and balanced

All but one participant indicated that forums such as this will reduce the divisiveness that characterized the 1990 city-county government merger initiative.

On several occasions, the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro has offered to conduct additional community forums on behalf of the unification task force. The task force has not responded, but during a recent meeting, task force members acknowledged the need for citizen participation in the process. A “study circle” approach was recommended and is under consideration.

Summaries of the February 28 forum are available at the Public Life Foundation: 270/685-2652.

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