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State Senator Julian Carroll said he isn’t one to get into local politics but concerns about a non-existent bill to reclassify the City of Owenton have him speaking out.
The City of Owenton voted in July 2011 to begin the process of reclassifying Owenton from a fifth to a fourth-class city, but the bill was later trashed by Owenton Mayor Doug West after some citizens felt the move would bring alcohol into the city limits.
In an interview Friday, Carroll said he met with West early in this year’s legislative session. During the meeting, Carroll said West requested that he introduce a bill in the Senate to change the city’s classification from fifth to fourth class.
“I told him that I did not independently make those decisions without a request from the community,” Carroll said. “I told (West) that the best way to handle that is to go back and get your city council to send a resolution requesting that I do that.”
During the meeting, Carroll said West told him that the council had already passed a resolution to begin the procedure of switching the city’s classification.
“I told (West) that I don’t interfere with such business without a request from a legislative body,” Carroll said. “If they want me to do it they would need to go back and get the city council to request I do it.”
Carroll said since the meeting with West, he has received questions from the community regarding a reclassification bill for Owenton.
“Some have said that (West) has told them that I was going to introduce a bill,” Carroll said. “But I did not say that as such. I only said that I would do so if requested by the (city council).”
According to a “Kentucky League of Cities Research Report” on the classification of cities, a fourth-class city has a population requirement of 3,000 to 7,999.
In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau listed Owenton’s population as 1,327.
According to state law a fourth-class city can have one liquor package license for every 2,300 residents in the county and one retail drink license for every 2,500 residents in the county.
West said Tuesday that he had not spoke to anyone in the community about reclassifying the City of Owenton.
“(The council) has talked about (reclassification),” West said. “But I didn’t see any need to pass a new resolution. I changed the names on the resolution passed a couple of years ago and sent (Carroll) and Damon Thayer a copy.”
West said Carroll told him he would support a bill reclassifying the City of Owenton, but that Carroll had led him to believe that it would have to be done by State Rep. Ryan Quarles, R-Georgetown.
Carroll said Friday that a reclassification bill could be introduced in either the Senate or the House.
Quarles could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday.
“I’m not getting involved in local politics,” Carroll said. “But I am going to speak the truth regarding any matter that affects (Owen County). “There have been three or four different citizens in the community that said I was to introduce a bill that would reclassify (the City of Owenton), but I would not do that unless requested to do so by the community.”
West said he had not “told a soul” that Carroll would introduce the bill.
Carroll said he has had approximately six incidents when reclassification has been mentioned to him by his constituents, each saying that it would be in the best interest of Owen County.
“I don’t remember anyone having said they didn’t want it,” Carroll said. “I can’t remember any instance when a particular citizen said there was no interest in it.”