Incorporation: pros and cons

Our View

There has been much discussion, both pro and con, on the proposed incorporation for the South Williamson-Goody and Forest Hills areas of Pike County, Kentucky.

This will be a hot topic in the coming months if the plan moves forward.

As with any major decision of this type, it would bring some big changes to these small communities and combining them into one town.

An incorporated town in the United States is a municipality, with a charter received from the state, similar to a larger city.

An incorporated town would have elected officials, most likely a mayor, town council and a city clerk.

Decisions would have to be made on whether this new municipality would have its own police force and fire department. Usually a smaller town can utilize the existing volunteer fire department, in this case the Belfry Volunteer Fire Department.

Then they would need to decide on whether they will have a sanitation department to collect garbage, or continue to contract that out to a county or private firm.

An unincorporated area is a community that is not governed by its own local municipal corporation, but rather the county or state.

A city is incorporated to give it certain powers. Usually unincorporated areas are subject to county ordinances. But city ordinances can supersede county rules, especially with regard to zoning laws.

Here are some pros and cons.


1. 1 percent Occupational and Net Profits Tax could remain with the newly formed city of South Williamson and not be shared throughout the County

2. The new city could provide increased fire and police protection for the City through the hiring of full time police and fire department personnel

3. The new city could apply for and compete with other cities in Pike County for coal severance and other types of grant funding.

4. The new city could establish its own street department and maintain the roadways within the city limits

5. The new city could establish its own solid waste department and provide waste collection for its citizens

6. The new city would presumably be run by a mayor and city council which would all be elected from within the borders of the new city

7. The new city could adopt an ordinance permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages which may lead to additional economic development in the area


1. The new city could adopt a tax higher than the 1% tax adopted by the County

2. The new overhead created by the establishment of the new city would eat up a significant portion of the tax revenue

3. The County would most likely be less than cooperative in maintaining the streets, ditches and drains and collection of solid waste

4. The start-up costs associated with the establishment of a new city would be substantial in purchasing heavy as well as office equipment, legal fees, automobiles, construction of a city hall.

5. The new city could adopt other taxes in addition to the 1 percent recently adopted by the County, for instance the City of Pikeville also has a restaurant tax, and a hotel/motel tax, as well as substantially higher real estate taxes for property located within the city limits.

6. The County would likely pull back services and allow the new city to stand or fall on its own which could lead to increases in the current tax rate

Of course the proposed annexation would be voted on. So individual citizens will have to decide for themselves on whether they would like to see incorporation for this section of Pike County.

(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

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