The Benham City Council took up a familiar topic during a recent meeting, hearing a presentation spelling out a feasibility study to be done concerning the possibility of merging Benham, Lynch and Cumberland.
Mayor Wanda Humphrey handed to floor over to Kentucky League of Cities Community Development Manager Tad Long, to advise the panel on what the upcoming study will entail.
“The first thing people want to know is what is a feasibility study,” Long said. “We’re going to look at each of the three cities — there’s a lot of data involved — you’ve got to look at budgets, you’ve got to look at how the cities are organized, what kind of debt they have and the revenue streams.”
Long said the data must be analyzed to determine if a merger is feasible.
“If it’s feasible, then you can decide what you want to do,” Long said. “If the data says no, it’s not feasible, that’s OK too. We want to try to get an answer.”
According to Long, there are three parts to the study.
“The first is the research, gather all the information,” Long said. “The second piece is then looking at the legal steps…if you decide to merge. The third piece is something we don’t have any control over, and that is the political will to do it.”
Long said the intent of the study is to give the cities enough information to come to the best decision.
“What we’re not going to do is tell you what to do,” Long said. “That’s not our role. City council’s role is to decide and put it to a vote. Then it’s up to the citizens at the end of the day.”
Long spelled out the time line for the study.
“We’re going to spend the summer gathering data,” Long said. “In the fall, that may be a good time for the cities to have a public meeting and talk about what we’re finding out and explain the process. By January, we will have a draft of the study, and by February we will have the final draft.”
In other council activity:
• City Clerk Jessica Smith reported a water pump had to be repaired;
• The council discussed illegal garbage dumping behind city hall;
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde