As Lexington council members discuss future growth plans, the uncertainty about future pension costs to local governments is being raised.
City Hall officials are waiting to see what action state lawmakers take in reforming employee pensions.
Council Member Susan Lamb says extra pension costs could greatly strain the budget.
“We need to be identifying where we can create jobs. That needs to be at the top of the most important thing that we do right now,” said Lamb.
Lamb says Lexington's costs for such things as public safety, refuse collection, and street lighting would increase with an expansion of the urban service boundary.
Council Member Richard Moloney says the budget will still be stretched to pay for additional police and firefighters, even if the local government doesn’t face sizeable pension expenses.
The planning department is suggesting the urban services boundary remain where it is while Council uses the next few years to study where to grow.
Council Member Kevin Stinnett says there are some areas outside the boundary suitable for consideration at some point.
“To say we have to study something again is just not true because we all know where the infrastructure is,” noted Stinnett. “We know where the land is and we know where we can afford to expand without encroaching on our rural landscape.”
Vice Mayor Steve Kay said there are no clear-cut answers when it comes to where to expand. Council Member Joe Smith, who previously served on the planning commission, suggested a review of the comprehensive plan about halfway through its five year life.
The council is expected to cast its first vote November 7 on the goals and objectives document which includes the recommendation to maintain the current urban services boundary.