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December Economics in Lexington
December’s the month when Lexington officials scrutinize city revenues with a sharp pencil. It’s marks the halfway point in the fiscal year. Lexington Finance Commissioner Jane Driskoll says their review of revenues will help them if budget adjustments are needed in 20-12. “We can see where we are to date and can make projections for the end of the year, so six months into it is a good touchstone and a good place to pause and determine if we need to make any changes for the rest of the year,” said Driskoll.
The biggest question facing Lexington’s book keepers is the cost of keeping police and corrections officers. Both groups are in contract negotiations with the city. Driskoll says they’ll also need to find almost two million dollars to subsidize health insurance for city employees.
Unemployment figures don’t always tell the full story. Revenue Director Bill Omara says Lexington’s unemployment rate in October was seven percent, down from seven-point-two percent a year ago. But, Omara adds, this year, about five thousand more people are working.
“So we have about four percent more people working, but our employment rate has only moved two-tenths of a percent,” added Omara.
Omara and other city officials will meet in the coming weeks with economists at the University of Kentucky. They’ll analyze the data, make some predictions about next year’s economy and help create a spending plan for 2012. Omara gave his update today to the council’s Budget Committee.