Nicholasville voters will decide in November whether to change their form of government.
Jessamine County Clerk Eva McDaniel has certified that there were more than enough valid signatures on a petition seeking to put the issue on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
On May 1, a committee submitted a petition with 3,285 signatures. Of those, 2,765 were certified; only 2,101 needed to be certified.
Voters will be asked the following question: "Are you in favor of the ... reorganization from commissioner form of government to mayor-council ward form of government for the city of Nicholasville?"
Perry Barnes, chairman of the petition committee, said council members elected from wards will spread representation among the city's 28,000 residents. The mayor and three of the four current commissioners live on the city's west side.
Barnes said he doesn't think he and others pushing for the change will have a problem persuading people to vote for change.
"The voters are very adamant about it," Barnes said. "Most of them want neighborhood or area representation, like most of the other cities have. Most people feel they should have district representation."
Nicholasville, the 12th-largest city in the state, according to the 2010 Census data, has 210 employees, a general fund budget of nearly $16 million and a utility budget of $24.5 million.
Nicholasville had a council form of government at one time, but voters switched to the commission form in 1972.
The city's mayor and four commissioners are elected as citywide representatives. Each commissioner is paid $20,605 a year, and each has limited day-to-day supervisory function over assigned Nicholasville departments.
A city council may have six to 12 members, with the actual number set by ordinance. Barnes said a council form of government doesn't necessarily mean bigger government and more cost to taxpayers.
"Their salaries should be set to coincide with what their budget is," Barnes said. If future council members don't set lower salaries for themselves, "they might get fired" by the voters, he said.
Officials expect to see some benefit from Nicholasville voters having to select a president and a U.S. representative for the 6th Congressional District. Barnes said that can only help change the Nicholasville form of government.
"It will be a coattail effect," Barnes said. "People want change, but they don't want the kind of hope and change we didn't get the last time. They want real change."