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Lexington Council Committee Focuses on Economic Development

The chair of a Lexington’Urban County Council committee says it’s not always dollars that lure commercial enterprises to local areas.

Economic development incentives got a going-over last week at Lexington City Hall. 

Budget and Finance Committee chair Kevin Stinnett says money and tax abatements aren’t the main factors in bringing companies to town.  He says workforce readiness is key, along with property for building a business. 

“The reason why companies aren’t necessarily coming to Lexington versus surrounding counties is land and it’s the cost of land we’re running into a lot,” said Stinnett

During the committee discussion, Vice Mayor Steve Kay asked for a rundown of how much tax money has been spent for local economic development incentives.

Wes Holbrook in the Finance Department told Kay and members of the budget and finance committee last week that Lexington’s jobs fund has benefited 16 companies with almost $2 million in incentives. 

“That’s a mix of grants and loans and we’re seeing about $160,000 in payroll taxes from the jobs that we’ve incentivized so far.  We’ve also seen about $45,000 to this point in repaid principal and interest,” noted Holbrook.

Holbrook says the government’s jobs fund is formatted with grants, forgivable loans and standard loans.  Lexington also participated in partner programs with the state such as tax increment financing and Kentucky Business Investment incentives.

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