Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

Special purpose entities, or Public Authorities, constitute a substantial portion of the public sector. In Kentucky, these entities provide large percentages of the services offered by state and local governments, employ thousands, have immense budgets, and issue large quantities of debt. It is this debt issuance that may be of concern to public administrators.

The purpose of this study was to examine the numbers and types of Authorities operating in a selection of Kentucky municipalities and how these Authorities, combined with other possible determinants, affect the levels of aggregate debt in the jurisdictions. A combination of analytical methods demonstrated that while some of the proposed determinants, such as tax revenue and population density, did appear to affect the levels of aggregate debt, the presence of autonomous Public Authorities was seemingly inconsequential. According to this study, autonomous Public Authorities do not affect the levels of aggregate debt in Kentucky's cities. Finally, the study demonstrates that the lack of transparency of information regarding these public entities operating in Kentucky's cities may be a cause for concern.