Fourth-class cities must have a population of 3,000 to 7,999. According to the last official census report, Junction City's population was 2,184.
Harmon said although Junction City doesn't meet the population requirement based on the last official census count, a council member will help conduct a new house-to-house census in the city.
"After we get that done, we'll be turning everything in to Sen. (Tom) Buford (R-Nicholasville)," Harmon said.
Last week, the bill to change Lancaster from a fifth-class city to fourth class, supported by Buford and Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, passed the Senate State Government Committee. The city requested the change last month after having two special meetings and much controversy surrounding the issue.
Although Mayor Don Rinthen said he has always been vocal about alcohol sales being connected to a community's growth potential, he claims that is not what prompted his research into changing Lancaster's class.
The request passed 3-2 in Lancaster. Council member Jerry Domidion, who voted against it, said he could not find any information about actual benefits derived from reclassifying the city.
"The greatest benefit I can tell you is that it could bring more industry into the area," Buford said. He said because Lancaster has been classified as a fifth-class city, meaning 1,000 to 2,999 in population, many companies have more than likely not even considered the area.
"Lancaster won't even get on the map if the population doesn't support a work force," Buford said. "Lancaster has had well over 3,000 people for a long time."
Lancaster's last official census count showed a population of 3,734.
Arguments for class change
Buford said the fact that a developer brought the idea to the table during a pro-alcohol discussion should not matter.
"Now that they are going to be a fourth-class city, they can also choose to have a full-time fire department, which of course they'd have to find the money for," Buford said. Plus, it just adds more prestige to the town, he said.
"Being fourth class just opens the door for more opportunities, more jobs. It's the smartest move," Buford said.
"With us, there would be no change in services at all," said Andrea Shindlebower in the legal department with the Kentucky League of Cities. Shindlebower said the league is a membership organization offering services such as insurance and legal help.
According to the state Legislature Research Commission, there are several statutory differences between fifth- and fourth-class cities. For example, a fourth-class city may grant off-duty hours for firefighters and has the ability to invest pension funds, yet disability payments for police and firefighters are not allowed in fourth-class cities that have pension systems.
The duties of tax assessors and procedure for tax collection also are different between the two classes.
Fourth-class cities also have the authority to grant rights of way to utilities and are authorized to issue city bonds, dedicate public funds and appropriate land for city colleges, for example.
A document called "Kentucky Municipal Statutory Law," was developed by the LRC about the difference in city classifications and was last revised in 2003. It will be updated after the 2008 General Assembly session.
"The reclassification, or a city's classification, does not have any impact on priority over funding or grant eligibility with GOLD," said Cindy Lanham, public information officer with the Governor's Office for Local Development.
Perryville, Junction City, Burgin and Hustonville are all fifth-class cities; Crab Orchard is sixth class; Harrodsburg, Stanford and Lancaster are fourth class; and Danville is a third-class city.