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Lexington mayor presents her 2024-25 budget to council members

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton Presents Her Budget Recommendations to Lexington Council 04-16-24
Stu Johnson
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton Presents Her Budget Recommendations to Lexington Council 04-16-24

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton is proposing an almost $532 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year. It represents a $27 million increase over the current spending plan.

Gorton, in her second term, called it a “no frills” budget. Still, the amount of money coming to the City is projected to be 6% higher. The mayor said much of that increase is eaten up in higher costs.

Gorton said Madison and Scott Counties are joining Fayette to establish a regional economic development park in Scott County. It’s been an idea that has been discussed for years.

 “You know the question has always been and I think this question has always kind of held up this kind of a partnership…well who makes the money? But, we’re figuring out how to share the revenues,” said Gorton.

Gorton said the need for light industrial acreage is big enough to justify a regional business park along with the existing 200-acre industrial site off Georgetown Road.

Included in her budget is $24 million for a senior and therapeutic recreation facility, expected to open in early 2026.

The mayor said public safety comprises more than 50% of the budget. Part of that, has Gorton calling for $150,000 to privatize lab DNA testing.

“It helps us identify perpetrators quicker. In the past when it wasn’t privatized, sometimes these results took years. Now they will be taking a few weeks,” said Gorton.

The mayor’s budget does include $110 million in planned capital project spending. She’s suggesting a 3% pay raise for all non-sworn employees.

Council members will get to work reviewing the mayor’s recommendations. Vice Mayor Dan Wu says the spending of federal American Rescue Plan dollars means a heavier reliance on local monies.

“Now we’re gonna have to tighten our belt a little bit, even though our revenue is up, it may or may not keep pace with the cost of everything, with construction with the cost of higher, benefits, all that stuff,” said Wu.

The mayor’s budget calls for the borrowing of $45 million. She says some debt is going off the city ledger. New proposed positions include an odor control manager to address issues at wastewater treatment plants and a complete streets manager. That person would be involved in ADA ramp work, bike and pedestrian safety, and traffic signaling.

Council is expected to take action on the budget in June.

Here's the entire budget speech to Lexington Council Members from Mayor Linda Gorton:

4MAYORFULLSPEECH.mp3

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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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