Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Crescent Springs residents quiet on merger proposal

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        CRESCENT SPRINGS — Residents did not turn out to express opinions one way or the other Monday night about a proposal to merge the city with Villa Hills.

        Crescent Springs City Council members — who have been working on the proposal for nearly as year — found themselves nearly alone discussing the pros and cons of a merger at a caucus meeting, two business days after a yearlong Crescent Springs/Villa Hills task force study was released.

        Councilman Tom Vergamini, chairman of the task force, highlighted advantages and disadvantages of the possible merger. Only two residents, who were at the municipal building on other business, attended the meeting — at the invitation of Mayor Claire Moriconi.

        “I don't know if it's on everybody's mind like it is the council's,” Ms. Moriconi said. “It doesn't seem like it, because nobody is calling, no one is here at the meeting tonight. Nobody is beating down the door to merge.”

        Councilman Rick Wessels, who was on the task force, said that the council should not move forward without public input. “I think we should have just one (public meeting) to gauge interest,” Mr. Wessels said. “Do we even need to devise a (merger) plan?”

        Council member Dale Ramsey and Ms. Moriconi, who said Crescent Springs' taxes could rise, are both opposed to the merger.

        “I don't see any advantage in it for the city,” Ms. Moriconi said. “I see nothing but expense, expense, expense.”

        Mr. Vergamini said that he had not decided whether he thinks the cities should merge, and said that the task force did not make a recommendation because the issue was too complex.

        Mr. Vergamini said both cities were financially sound and that the merger was not economically driven. The merger study came out of a

        1999 meeting between Villa Hills and Crescent Springs at which it was decided that a feasibility study was needed before the cities, which have shared a fire department since the 1970s, considered further joint ventures.

        To meet the deadline for the Nov. 5 election, the cities' plan would have to be put on the ballot by Aug. 13. But Ms. Moriconi said it could be a year before a plan is outlined and ready to put on a ballot.

        In a survey mailed to 1,882 Crescent Springs residents and businesses over the summer, citizens were asked if they would prefer a full merger, a partial merger or none at all.

        Only 282 replied, with 104 people responding that they would approve a full merger.

        Residents can view the task force findings on the Crescent Springs city Web site — www.crescent-springs.ky.us/ — or obtain a copy at both city buildings. The Crescent Springs council plans to publish task force findings in the next city newsletter, scheduled to appear late February or early March, according to the mayor.


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