4:25pm

Wed November 20, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

$1M Lexington "Jobs Fund" Goes Before City Council

Credit wtvq.com

A proposal from Lexington’s mayor that establishes a one million dollar ‘jobs fund’ goes before the full Lexington Council Thursday.  Most of the money would go to existing companies for the creation of new jobs.  Jamie Emmons, who’s the mayor’s chief of staff, said Lexington’s incentives differ from those offered by state programs.

“We know from a search that a cash incentive program is rare in Kentucky.  Most existing programs are based on tax abatement, but in many cases businesses now need cash to buy equipment, to expand their space, or otherwise grow an operation,” said Emmons.

The one million dollars would be distributed through both grants and loans.   Emmons says the vast majority of money would go primarily to existing firms.

“Today in Lexington, 85% of our business, our job growth it comes from business expansion, so that’s a real priority.  Attraction is, of course, another component, but the focus should be on expansion primarily,” added Emmons.

Council member Peggy Henson reminded city leaders that incentives should also go to smaller business owners.

“I know that we’re looking for probably keeping our UK students here and getting some high wage jobs.  But, there are many, many other people that live in this community and it needs to be inclusive of all,” said Henson.

Council members are still working out details for membership of an investment board.