Vetoes in Lexington Looming

Jun 29, 2011

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says he will line item veto certain parts of the budget passed recently by the Urban County Council.  The mayor met around the table with council members Wednesday morning.

Mayor Gray continues to maintain that selected layoffs and cuts to outside agencies are appropriate belt tightening measures.  The council’s budget action restored funding for those positions and partner agencies.  Gray plans to announce his vetoes Friday, but he’s sure about one area now.

I’ve said that I will veto the line item that includes Frisbee golf, that is for sure.  I am examining others until Friday and will have the final decision on Friday,” said Gray.

The budget approved by council members includes 400 thousand dollars in new debt. It borrows money to build two disc golf courses and two lacrosse fields. Gray disagrees with those expenditures, saying this is a time for paying down debt, not increasing it.  The mayor has the option of reducing spending through a line item veto instead of rejecting the entire budget. 
Council member Kevin Stinnett wants any changes to be handled through budget amendments and not vetoes.  As far as the expected vetoes are concerned, Stinnett believes council may agree with some of the mayor’s actions.

“I think there is the opportunity to over-ride some, I think the council will, but I think there is a couple we will agree with,” said Stinnett.

Gray served previously on the council as vice mayor.  But current vice mayor Linda Gorton notes the situation changes when a former colleague moves into the mayor’s office.

“The mayor is the one executive and the council has 15 people who are a team, so it’s just different,” added Gorton.

Vetoes are expected to be released Friday.  The council could consider overriding vetoes during it’s meeting next Tuesday.  It appears more likely any such action would occur at the council’s meeting next Thursday.