Lexington Council members are putting their stamp on a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Urban County Council spent the better part of their day at city hall, considering and endorsing changes to Mayor Jim Gray's original proposal.
The Council started with less than a million dollars to work with. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says a spending decision earlier this year is impacting the budget process. "Some years we've had more and see we would have had a lot of money but, in March, we allocated ten million dollars of money that our Commissioner of Finance felt would be available. So, had we not done that, we would have a huge amount of money right now," said Gorton.
As part of the ten million dollar appropriation earlier this spring was 3.5 million dollars for affordable housing.
There was unanimous support for doubling the money going to the Purchase of Development Rights land preservation program. Council member Harry Clarke says the availability of federal matching support, however, is expected to change. "We know that we can get this match this year, but we're not sure about in the future. It may be, on the other hand, it may be a new program that provides even more help. We just don't know," said Clarke.
Council member Steve Kay says PDR is all about maintaining Lexington's identity and economy. "It is one of the ways in which we are maintaining our rural heritage. It's not just a landscape that we all enjoy, but also the major productive part of our community," said Kay.
During discussions Tuesday, Council boosted funding for outside partner agencies by 690 thousand dollars. Final approval of the budget will come later this month.