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Newberry and Williams Debate the Paducah - McCracken County Merger on WKMS

Chad Lampe

Local voters will decide next month whether to move forward with a Paducah and McCracken County government merger. WKMS News held a debate this morning with two men on either side of the issue. Speaking for the measure was Paducah businessman John Williams Jr., and against it, McCracken County Judge Executive Van Newberry. Williams says bigger is better when it comes to getting support for the area. He says,

 “It would move us from the 15th and falling town in the Commonwealth to number 3 and rising. It would make us one of three communities of our size of this structure. It would put us in a position that is progressive and more or less getting the attention of those that could be bringing those jobs.”

But Newberry disputes this claim. He says,

"I'm not sure how you can say 'third and rising.' It may be third in population if you claim population all the way to Ballard County and Graves County and Marshall County but there's no belief that I've seen, or no facts that show the county would continue to grow..."

Newberry says studies show that when governments merge, there’s often a slowdown that follows. Williams and Newberry also discussed taxes, business development, and employment during the debate. Hear the full debate by clicking the "Listen" button above.

Shelly Baskin works in MSU's Office of Regional Outreach and is a graduate student in Occupational Safety and Health. A roustabout from Memphis, Tennessee, Shelly first found his way into WKMS through the newsroom back in 2011 through luck, charm and force of will. Though he left news for another position, he still enjoys working on independent radio projects and volunteering for the station. He’s an avid disc golfer and occasional real golfer and is terrible at both. A lover of all things musical, Shelly is always ready to hear something new and unique.
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