OWENSBORO, Ky. (7/25/13) - Kentucky is now a metropolitan state, with 58 percent or 2.5 million people living in the cities. One-third of the cities are not in the correct class. The state is using an outdated classification system set in 1891, which Jonathan Steiner, Executive Director of the Kentucky League of Cities, called an “Illogical caste system”. A 400-page bill has been in draft for two and a half years, and will be introduced in the next Senate session.
Those were a few of the topics discussed during a meeting of mayors at the Green River Area Development District office in Owensboro. The conference offered mayors the opportunity to discuss the challenges each of them are seeing in their towns.
Steiner explained that the League of Cities have found that challenges include things like city revenue. Cities need to have “control over their own destinies”, Steiner said.
Other city challenges expressed by Steiner included:
•Road aid – 39 percent of vehicle miles are spent on city roads, but roads with little travel receive more work.
•Funding 911 services – More service calls are coming from cell phones rather than home lines, and it is costing cities more money to fund cellular phone calls.
•Drug rates – The so-called “Pill Bill” made it harder for people to receive prescription drugs, making heroin the drug of choice in more communities in Kentucky.
To improve these problems, JD Chaney, Chief Governmental Affairs Officer for the Kentucky League of Cities, suggested that decisions shouldn’t be made in Frankfort. He said that state legislators shouldn’t make decisions that should be done by citizens.
“Local decisions are best made by local officials,” said Chaney.
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