Lexington city leaders are beginning the annual process of setting property tax rates for taxpayers. Once again the issue of paying for streetlights was debated Tuesday at city hall.
There are a number of property tax rates to consider this time of year. For years, the assessment for city owned streetlights has not kept up with associated costs. On the first meeting back after a summer break, council members considered a motion to raise rates.
Council member Kevin Stinnett suggested instead taking the $4.4 million needed to cover street lights from a fund balance. That’s an idea finance commissioner Bill Omara couldn’t support. “To be a structurally balanced budget, your revenues should cover your operating expenses, not going to your savings account to pay your utility bills,” said Omara.
The motion to up property taxes for streetlights would have meant a $17 increase for someone owning a $165,000 home. The motion failed. Council is expected to cast a final vote on all property tax levies the end of August.