Affordable Housing Trust Fund Debate

Apr 11, 2012

A proposal to establish an ‘affordable housing’ trust fund in Lexington is being met with scrutiny right out of the box.  A proposed increase in auto and home insurance surcharges is contained in an affordable housing task force report.  The proposal calls for increasing the city’s surcharge from five to five and a half percent.   It would amount to a 15 dollar a year insurance premium increase for the average taxpayer.   Urban County Council member Peggy Henson says the increase would generate almost two million dollars annually and offer housing opportunities for about 200 people.

    The council placed the item in the budget committee Tuesday.  Council member Kevin Stinnett says that’s the appropriate spot for the trust fund item.

“There’s a lot of good information here, but I think the final need and the final line on here is an ask for a tax increase and I think that would be better served and better discussed in budget and finance,” said Stinnett.

During its work session, the council heard from local builder John Kemper.  He contends the purchase of development rights in the land preservation program would act as a barrier to building more affordable houses.

“When I’m paying a thousand dollars a linear foot…for a lot 60 by 120..I can’t build affordable housing in Fayette County,” said Kemper.

Urban County Council member Peggy Henson says she’s worked with low income citizens for years.  Although she sees the need for an affordable housing trust fund, Henson expects it to be a tough sell for council…

“I think it will be very difficult to get it passed…reality wise.. I’m very much for it,” said Henson.

Task force members had sought to have the affordable trust fund issue placed in the planning and economic development committee.  The council voted to place the matter before the budget committee.