Lexington Council members are expected to take up an economic development fund proposal Tuesday. Mayor Jim Gray is suggesting two million dollars be set aside in what he labels a ‘jobs fund.’ Gray made a formal pitch to the Council during the last work session. “See it does not mean that we are writing a check for that tomorrow at all. This represents gap financing, loans, principally for local companies that are growing and adding jobs,” said Gray.
Gray claims it would also be the first city based incentive program for potential research companies on the way to commercialization. The mayor says state assistance for local governments in this area is dwindling.
“State economic development funds today are shrinking. Kentucky’s is down 58 percent in five years, just like what we’ve experienced in social services. Cities, we are having to do more to just stay even,” added Gray.
The mayor told council members such a fund would amount to a ‘tool in the economic development toolbox,’ something he says is missing today. Council members have spent the last few meetings making decisions about millions of dollars in surplus funds.