Almost a decade after city and county governments merged, Mayor Greg Fischer signed an executive order creating a 23-member panel that will review its effectiveness and study what hasn’t worked. The Merger 2.0 Task Force will make recommendations for improving Metro government for both urban and suburban residents, and will submit a report to the mayor by October 1.
“It’s time we take a fresh look at merger, what went well, what hasn’t, and what can be improved upon to make sure all citizens are getting the services and response they deserve from city government,” Fischer said in a news release.
The task force will also be charged with making Louisville an easier place to start, grow and attract businesses and focus on a number of concerns around merger, including the prospect of expanding Metro services such as recycling, garbage and junk pick-up to suburban parts of the county.
Those living within the old city limits are in the Urban Services District, and as a result pay higher property taxes that in return give them extra city services. However, those outside the district, for instance, have various forms of fire protection from volunteer departments to fully-staffed and paid suburban districts.
For services such as garbage and recycling collection, suburban residents often pay private contractors directly or pay fees to a neighborhood or condo association.
During a press conference, Fischer acknowledged competing interests could debate over the expansion of services, but said the the new panel will be diverse and bi-partisan.
The group will co-chaired by former Louisville Mayor and Jefferson County Judge-Executive Dave Armstrong and former Jefferson County Judge-Executive Rebecca Jackson. It also will include four member of Metro Council members — two inside the Urban Services District and two outside the District — who will be appointed by the incoming council President. Other members of the task force will be appointed by Fischer within the next month.
Once the work of the task force is complete, the Fischer administration will take those recommendations and forward them to members of the Kentucky state legislature to introduce any necessary changes to state law in the 2012 General Assembly.