Thursday, August 05, 1999

Two cities seek help with merger

Combined services or just one city?

Enquirer Contributor

        CRESCENT SPRINGS — Leaders from Crescent Springs and Villa Hills are asking two outside agencies to help decide whether the two Kenton County towns should merge some services or both cities.

        Lisa Cooper, public administration officer with the Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD), said Wednesday she would put together by next week an outline of what her organization could do. Villa Hills Mayor Steve Clark said the Kentucky League of Cities would help in the process.

        The two cities began discussions two weeks ago about merging the police and public works departments. The earliest it would be on the ballot would be 2000, Mr. Clark said.

        “It would be irresponsible if we didn't look at potential benefits,” Mr. Clark said. “I'm looking at it to see if there's a benefit to do anything. We don't know what's going to come out.”

        Crescent Springs Councilman Rick Wessels said he initially wanted to study combining services, but he said Wednesday he has no problem looking at a total merger.

        If the cities want to conduct a detailed study, Ms. Cooper said it would cost $4,000 and take two months to complete. Mr. Wessels said it should include 10-year economic projections for Crescent Springs and Villa Hills separately and as a merged community.

        Crescent Springs Councilman Jim Collett — who has lived in both cities — said he's heard mixed reviews.

        “I think some people in the newer sections of (Crescent Springs) seem to be receptive to merging cities,” Mr. Collett said.

        Mr. Clark said he's received about 30 telephone calls from Villa Hills residents who object to even talking about merging.

        Mr. Wessels said he could understand Villa Hills residents being concerned that a merged police department would spend most of its time in Crescent Springs because most of the industry is there — just as he could see Crescent Springs residents worrying about a merged public works department spending too much time fixing Villa Hills' larger number of streets.

        The cities already share fire service — the Crescent Villa Fire Authority — and the two police departments routinely back each other up on runs.

        If the cities merge police and public works, the only separate entities would be the city clerks and city office buildings.


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- Two cities seek help with merger