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Lexington leaders tap Texas town for ideas to bring home

Austin City Government

The annual Commerce Lexington economic development trip took a large group of central Kentucky leaders to the Lone Star state

The community listed as the fastest-growing city in the country grew a bit larger this week. A contingent of government, business, and education leaders numbering close to 200 from Lexington paid a visit to Austin, Texas. It was the annual trip sponsored by Commerce Lexington. The aim is to bring ideas tied to economic development, leisure, or education back to the bluegrass.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton among a group touring Austin's Waterloo Park

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said determining how and where to grow is a question in Texas like in the bluegrass. “With that kind of fast growth we’ve talked with them about how they managed that. And they have freely admitted that they have some issues with that management, you know infrastructure and other things. But, they have an advantage over Lexington cause they have really nice weather here,” said Gorton.

Gorton said Austin leaders also solicited comments from their citizenry about what they want to see in their Texas town, including how is the governing council doing?

While the state of Texas is often regarded as conservative, Gorton said Austin is viewed as quite progressive. She noted their tax structure is different than Lexington’s. “You know they have funded a lot of their local projects and initiatives through their property tax and their sales tax and they have managed to be a city where people want to be in the heart of a state that’s not exactly like the city of Austin,” explained Gorton.

Gorton said Austin uses regional partnerships and has a focus on high tech industries. The mayor noted leaders in Texas admit managing growth has brought challenges. Gorton added there are also challenges as it relates to homelessness and retaining police officers in the city of 1.2 million people.

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