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Lexington Council makes fall spending decisions

Lexington Council Committee of the Whole (COW) Meeting 10-31-23
Stu Johnson
Lexington Council Committee of the Whole (COW) Meeting 10-31-23

Lexington’s Urban County Council has made some decisions about spending surplus funds. This has become an expected fall discussion item when there are dollars available.

After explaining the makeup of a $56 million fund balance, City Finance Commissioner Erin Hensley offered up the mayor’s requests. Those included more money for emergency housing, a salt barn project, and boosting Council district capital project funding. Hensley also spoke about setting money aside to earn more than 5% interest.

“Making decisions that are thoughtfully and wisely applied so that we earn as much money as we can while we’ve got it and then we can move forward with those commitments we’ve made,” said Hensley.

Some of the proposed bigger projects include a new city hall, a senior therapeutic center, and public safety facilities. Council members then went through several of their own proposals and approved more than 20. Council Budget Committee Chair James Brown.

“We have some Capital projects that are on the horizon so I think we funded some things that address some community needs but then also we left some money available to address some of those Capitol projects that we have in the pipeline,” said Brown.

First District Council Member Tayna Fogle asked for $9 million to go toward design and construction of a new permanent homeless shelter in addition to the City’s existing Hope Center. She's confident it will get done.

“I will be all over top of that to make sure that is moving. It will not die. I see so many things introduced and then nobody goes back to it,” said Fogle.

On Tuesday, the Council acted to place the proposed new shelter project in committee and conduct a feasibility study.

Among the Council proposals given a green light are $1.5 million for Phoenix Park refurbishing, $250,000 for roadway striping, $960,000 for Masterson Station fairgrounds improvements, $340,000 for the sidewalk cost-sharing program, and $1 million for expansion of the solar Lexington program.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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