Lexington Council Passes $358 Million Budget
Lexington’s council has overwhelmingly approved a new budget for the fiscal year beginning July first.
The $358 million spending plan includes funding for 30 additional police officers. Mayor Jim Gray says it’s the city’s biggest investment ever in public safety.
Mayor Gray says revenues may not be as robust going forward, but investments still need to be made in selected areas.
“You’ve got to make investments in quality of life so that you can have a continuing interest in your city,” said Gray. “People want to live in a place that’s safe and’s got a great quality of life. And that’s what we want to focus on in Lexington.”
Council member Richard Moloney cast the lone “no” vote on the budget. He says he’s been consistent throughout the budget process with worries about too much debt with ongoing expenses facing the urban county government.
“I just think we need to halt on spending and get control of it. And who knows with this governor, he may come back and tell us we need to add some more in the pension for the CERS. Not just for the police and fire, but for the other folks,” explained Moloney.
Budget Committee Chair Kevin Stinnett says the budget is a guideline. The veteran councilman anticipates a promising revenue report next week.
“You’ll hear Tuesday that we’re actually doing pretty well this fiscal year so, should we be concerned, we always are, but at the end of the day, we have to balance and pass a budget,” said Stinnett. “Otherwise the budget reverts back to what it was last year.”
The new budget does specify borrowing some $36 million. Finance Commissioner Bill Omara says that bonding does not focus on capital construction, but instead, infrastructure areas like public safety equipment, paving, and purchase of development rights funding.?