Council Talks Spending Surplus

Apr 23, 2013

Council Meets on Budget Issues
Credit Stu Johnson / Weku News

Lexington leaders have narrowly voted to beef up the city’s rainy day fund.  With the city’s financial outlook improving Council member Jennifer Mossotti wants to set aside two-point-seven million additional dollars in an economic contingency fund.

“But, my concern is that revenues are gonna be flat this year and if we have some kind of disaster or a need that we need to use this economic contingency fund for, we would have that ability to do so,” said Mossotti.

With relatively low interest rates, Council member Kevin Stinnett argued against investing in a rainy day fund.  Instead, Stinnett wants to spend that money and reduce some of the city’s borrowing.

“We’re talking about bonding in this next budget.  Bonds, which we’re gonna get one to two percent, which is a great rate, but we could pay cash and get those things done today out of this fund balance.  And we’re not gonna earn one or two percent on that money this year.  We’re not,” added Stinnett.

Lexington leaders may seek a new source of funds for expenses like the city’s streetlights. Council endorsed spending two point five million dollars to help reduce a streetlight installation backlog.  Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says Lexington might need to look at other ways to support streetlights.

“Looking at the tax that funds the streetlights and we can do that as we come into the fall and set our tax rates and look at changing it to a fee, we open to anything that would enable us to fund our street lights properly, the way they are supposed to be funded,” said Gorton.

Mayor Jim Gray is again proposing an increase in the tax levied by the Lexington on its utilities. That extra money would then pay for streetlights.