3:19pm

Tue June 11, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Delayed Tax Hike on Utilities Leaves Lexington Council Uneasy

In writing a budget for next year, Lexington leaders will assume a two-and-a-half million dollar increase in city revenues.  The money could come from a tax hike on Lexington utilities, but a final decision on the tax hike was postponed until August.  Nevertheless, spending money they don’t yet have leaves Vice Mayor Linda Gorton uneasy.

“I have a very difficult time voting for this motion because it’s built on an increase in the franchise fee and there were not eight council members willing to do that,” said Gorton.

Income from the increase on franchise fees would support Lexington’s streetlight program.  While admitting the future is uncertain, Council member Kevin Stinnett agreed to the delay.

“We just delayed that until August.  There’s no one in this room that can tell us that we’re not going to raise it with all certainty.  We could raise it in August.  There could be a majority by then, saying we do, we think that is the best method,” added Stinnett.

If council eventually rejects the franchise fee increase, Council member Bill Farmer notes the city has other revenue raising options.  For example, Farmer says Lexington leaders could increase property taxes.  Final budget approval is expected later this month.