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$75,000 for License Plate Readers in Lexington, Ky., Budget

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council approved a record-setting $532.9 million spending plan with funds for 25 new positions. The budget also includes money for 25 license plate cameras.

(TNS) — The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council passed a $532.9 million spending plan Thursday that includes money for 25 new positions, millions for a second senior center and raises for most city employees.

The budget is for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It’s more than a 5% increase over the current-year budget of $505 million. The council’s final vote was unanimous, 15-0.

It is the largest budget in the city’s history and includes no tax increases.

Mayor Linda Gorton’s budget proposal included $24 million for a second senior center and therapeutic recreation center in Shillito Park; 3% raises for most city employees; $2.1 million for a new regional industrial park; and $75,000 for 25 license plate reader cameras.

The council added more than $3.2 million in additional spending. It added 10 new positions, including two positions for police and additional staff for neighborhood traffic management. The total cost to add that staff is $750,000.

It also added $2 million for a fund earmarked to help developers pay for infrastructure improvements for difficult-to-develop land inside the city’s growth boundary.

To pay for those additional staff, the council voted to increase the revenue estimate for the next fiscal year.

That estimate — which determines how much money the city will receive in taxes and fees — has been under the projected estimate for the past three years. That means the city has ended its fiscal year with healthy surpluses, sometimes topping $20 million.

But hiring additional people will mean additional costs in future years. Gorton has cautioned the council city revenues have been buoyed by federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. Some of those surpluses were also due to that additional money — $121 million over two years.

Gorton, who has until June 23 to make any vetoes, has not yet decided if she will veto the additional staff the council added, said Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for the city.

Gorton’s budget included money for 15 new positions. With the council changes, the new budget has money for 25 additional positions.

“The mayor is concerned about raising revenue to pay for the 10 positions,” Straub said.


The city is using some “one-time money” to balance its budget, including $32 million from various city saving accounts.

The budget also uses $45 million in bonding or borrowing.

Included in that borrowing is $24 million for a second senior center and therapeutic recreation center. The city’s current senior center in Idle Hour Park has been packed since it opened in 2016. The city will also use borrowed money to buy police and fire vehicles, and another $12 million will be set aside for paving.

In total, the budget includes $14 million, a combination of grant, city money and borrowing, for paving.


Another big change for the budget that begins July 1 is more money for affordable housing and homelessness services.

The council has passed various ordinances in recent years that allocate a percentage of the city’s budget to affordable housing and homelessness prevention efforts.

The budget contains $4.79 million in affordable housing spending. The city typically spends $2 million a year.

The city’s Office of Homeless Prevention and Intervention budget also will nearly double from $750,000 to $1.4 million. In addition to the $1.4 million, the budget also includes $2 million for a winter warming shelter to augment the city’s current shelter system during the colder months.

One Lexington, the city’s violence intervention program for teens and young adults, will get an increase of about $20,000 for more trauma-informed care.

©2024 Lexington Herald-Leader, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.