Mayor Suggests Economic Development Fund

Mar 20, 2013

Hoping to enhance Lexington’s economy, Mayor Jim Gray wants to set up a new, two-million dollar development fund.  The money would finance start-up companies and expansions by existing firms.  It would also fund the recruitment of businesses operating outside Lexington.  Gray says many competing cities already have such a fund.  “Competitor cities of ours have, for a long time, utilized responsible economic development models for growth,” said Gray.

In discussing the issue Tuesday, Council members proposed other ideas for attracting new business.  For example, Council member Kevin Stinnett short term tax breaks should be considered.

“One such that I was gonna put into budget and finance shortly is the abatement of payroll tax for every new job created for a certain number of years.  That’s a tool we can already do without spending money to encourage local businesses to create jobs and foster that,” added Stinnett.

Meanwhile, the revenue picture for Lexington is again cloudy.  Based on current projections, Finance Commissioner Bill Omara says the city could end this fiscal year with a six-point-four million dollar shortfall.

“We will stay the course.  We will monitor the operating and the personnel dollars and hope that the net profits will exceed our new expectations,” said Omara.

Omara says the net profit tax collected from businesses is down.  But, he added, it’s not unusual for those revenues to pick up in the spring.