In writing a budget for next year, Lexington leaders will assume a two-and-a-half million dollar increase in city revenues. The money could come from a tax hike on Lexington utilities, but a final decision on the tax hike was postponed until August. Nevertheless, spending money they don’t yet have leaves Vice Mayor Linda Gorton uneasy.
Lexington leaders have rejected a web-based project that promised to put more information on city activities into the hands of residents. The ‘Code for America’ program provides three web-experts who spend a year reworking a city’s software. Saying current city accounting methods fall short, Council member Ed Lane argued against the new service.
Hoping to better direct downtown pedestrians, Leadership Lexington is calling for better signs, and more of them. Pastor Ron Edmondson, who speaks for the organization, predicts signage that specifically targets walkers could improve downtown business.
Hoping to improve interaction between taxpayers and city leaders, Lexington might join an innovative, year-long, web-based effort. Promoters also hope it will boost Lexington’s reputation as a friendly place for ‘new technology’.
Four architectural firms will offer up suggestions on refurbishing Lexington’s Rupp Arena. The companies vying for the Rupp Arena job come from Lexington, Kansas City, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Sweden. In a statement, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said ‘these are the firms with the imagination to reinvent Rupp Arena and ignite the surrounding blocks with a new level of excitement and activity.
Brenna Angel, a reporter for the University of Kentucky's public radio station who is being sued by the school, has left the station to work in the office of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. Angel started work Monday as the assistant communications director, specializing in social media and the city's website. She said it was not a job that she had pursued, but she was pleasantly surprised to be approached about it. "It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up," Angel said early Monday afternoon. Read more...
Kentucky American Water Company President Cheryl Norton
Credit Kentucky American Water Company
Formal hearings begin Tuesday on a rate increase requested by Kentucky American Water. And, state regulators have already heard some tough talk from Lexington’s mayor. Hoping to cover the cost of infrastructure improvements, computer upgrades and declining usage, Kentucky American Water Company seeks a 14 percent increase in rates. If approved by the State Public Service Commission, the average water customer would pay an extra five to six dollars a month.
Kentucky American's Rate Increase Request Up for Review this Week
It’s getting down to crunch time for local governments across Kentucky as councils and commissions prepare to vote on new budgets. In Lexington, city leaders will make some adjustments over the next couple of weeks. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says council members should get an update Tuesday on how much money is available.
New zoning regulations proposed for facilities that care for Lexington’s adult residents concern advocates for Lexington's homeless and disabled residents. The proposed change would require Adult Day Care Centers to seek city permission before opening up in areas zoned for business and professional. David Christensen with the Central Kentucky Housing and Homeless Initiative says the rules seem to target Lexington’s homeless.
Zip line enthusiasts lobby council members at Lexington city hall.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
Hoping to promote and regulate adventure tourism in rural areas, a Lexington work group has proposed a series of zoning restrictions. During dozens of public meetings, the working group discussed the need for green space, the potential of eco and agri-tourism, and the environmental consequences. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton created the panel
A remedy is in the works for a debt owed by the Children’s Museum to the city of Lexington. The ‘Explorium’ owes the city about 194-thousand dollars. Lexington Finance Commissioner Bill Omara says the proposed remedy has the museum organizing 24 community events a year until the debt is paid off.
A city landscaping project will more than double the number of trees along a heavily traveled stretch of Lexington’s Nicholasville road. Urban Forester Tim Queary says several of the trees originally planted in the 1980’s have died. He says six others still standing were improperly pruned by a private contractor.
Lexington’s City Council has given initial approval for food trucks to conduct business on certain public streets. The matter was debated at length during this afternoon’s work session at city hall. In the end the count was 13 yes votes, one no vote, and one abstention. Now the matter will go on the council docket for a formal vote. If given final approval, food trucks could be found during the day in specific zones by the first part of June.
It’s on to Lexington’s City Council for a food truck pilot project. The compromise today got an initial go-ahead from the Parking Authority Board. The six month trial run allows food trucks in designated downtown zones during daytime hours. Since they’d occupy metered spaces, the compromise required the Parking Authority’s approval. It came with a number of requested modifications. The revisions continue the ban on food trucks along Mill Street but allow them on an extended portion of Vine. Council member Shevawn Akers, who’s work group constructed the compromise, predicts the council will also approve.
Lee Ann Marlow’s vanity plate may provide a clue about how she came to lose her medical license. It read “Tilulae Regina,” which Marlow later testified is Latin for “pill queen.” Marlow, a physician with ties to a now-closed Georgetown pain-management clinic, was stripped of her Kentucky medical license on May 2 by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
The Lexington Parking Authority board of commissioners voted Thursday to accept the proposed new food trucks ordinance, subject to seven modifications. Commissioner Wayne Masterman, who operates Portofino restaurant on East Main Street, cast the lone dissenting vote, arguing that the proposed ordinance involves "too many unknowns, and too many unknown consequences." Read more...
Using G-P-S technology, Lexington’s garbage collectors hope to improve their efficiency. Speaking to Lexington’s council, Technical Project Manager Brittney West says the high tech should accelerate waste collection and hopefully lead to move recycling. “We’ve put in a group of containers and we’re gonna see where the drivers are picking up and where they’re not picking up and if they’re not picking up in an area, we can focus on that and see if we can promote recycling,” explained West.
A modification in a compromise over Lexington’s Food Truck proposal is in the works. The pilot project gets another review tomorrow morning. The six month pilot project, allows food truck vendors to set up in designated downtown zones during the day. Since they’ll be in metered parking spots, the Lexington Parking Authority must first approve. But, as Council member Diane Lawless explains, there could be a lot of competition over the best spots. “I’m not clear about what was decided about those spaces. Is it first come, first serve, etc. And that certainly is a very big issue if the Parking Authority does permit these,” said Lawless.
If they’re not careful, Lexington’s budget writers say their expenses could outrun city revenues. The council’s now reviewing the mayor’s spending plan for next year. Council member Chuck Ellinger says there’s no guarantee Lexington will collect enough tax money to cover their costs.
FRANKFORT – A ceremony of remembrance Tuesday marked the re-interment of the remains of 178 individuals that were exhumed in 2011 on the Eastern State Hospital Campus in Lexington, now home to a new Bluegrass Community and Technical College education facility.
A truck drove down the exit ramp after the Helix Garage reopened at 7 a.m. Monday at 150 East Main Street in Lexington. The former Annex Garage, renamed the Helix Garage for its spiraling exit ramp, had been closed since November for a $3.1 million restoration project. A 50 percent discount is available for motorists who get their tokens validated at the Urban County Government Center, the Phoenix Building or the Kentucky Theatre
Credit Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald Leader
Downtown parking in Lexington continues to undergo change. Last summer, the city’s Parking Authority took over operation of metered spots and many public garages. Most recently, the refurbished annex garage was reopened and rechristened as the Helix Garage. But Council member Bill Farmer worries not all the changes are improvements. “I just see a lot of tickets being given and I see a change in culture and that’s part of what your entity does is it changes things as it goes and I understand that. That doesn’t mean that I may be overjoyed by some of those changes,” said Farmer.
Questions about code enforcement procedures and staffing dominated discussions this week at city hall. The man who directs officers charged with keeping homes and businesses safe and sound appeared before a council committee. Early in the meeting, Council member Diane Lawless set the tone by reminding city officials of continuing problems around the University of Kentucky, where too many residences are poorly maintained and yards are filled with trash.
More than 150 residents of Lexington’s Pimlico Apartments must find new homes. A multi-million dollar renovation at the public housing complex will force their relocation. But, finding a place won’t be easy… Residents have a couple options. While work is done repairing the Pimlico complex’s structure problems…they could rent from private landlord…paying for the move with a federal voucher. But, resident Jessica Spivey says landlords who accept federal vouchers are hard to find. “We have not been given any help as far as builders or renters or landlords that accept section 8. It was here’s the voucher. You are on your own. That’s where we need help,” said Spivey.
Dark smoke from a massive fire in Lawrenceburg Friday afternoon could be seen from Frankfort to Lexington. The smoke was coming from a large glass debris pile that caught fire in an industrial park where Dlubak Glass is located. At least eight fire departments flocked to the scene to battle the blaze including departments from Woodford, Mercer, Anderson, Franklin and Jessamine counties and Lexington, Versailles and Lawrenceburg.
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears & Lexington Herald-Leader
Fire broke out Friday at the Dlubak Glass Co. in Lawrenceburg. The Lexington and Versailles fire departments were sending firefighters to help.
Credit Lexington Herald-Leader file photo
UPDATED: Fire broke out Friday at the Dlubak Glass Co. in Lawrenceburg. The Lexington and Versailles fire departments were sending firefighters to help. Amanda Hillard, a secretary at the company, said a large pile of shredded vinyl material was engulfed in flames in an industrial park on Industry Drive, just of U.S. 127. Hillard said all nine employees were out safely.
Factory and office workers in Lexington could see new lunch time items available in coming months. But, it might mean a trip outside. While the debate in Lexington rages over food trucks, those vendors might find less resistance at workplaces. Worried about competition, the owners of many brick-and-mortar restaurants want to limit a food truck’s access to public spaces…keeping them from doing business on public streets. However, with a small change to the Lexington’s zoning restrictions, Planning Director Chris King says businesses without indoor dining facilities for their employees could open their gates to food trucks.
In about a month, more details are expected on who should design the renovation of Lexington’s Rupp Arena. The overall project to refurbish the sports arena along with the Lexington Convention Center carries an estimated price tag of close to 300-million dollars. Frank Butler is project manager for the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District. “We’re really now starting to ramp this up. I would anticipate sometime probably towards the end of May beginning of June, we will have selected our architects and our construction manager and we’ll be in full blown moving the project ahead,” said Butler.
Lexington leaders have narrowly voted to beef up the city’s rainy day fund. With the city’s financial outlook improving Council member Jennifer Mossotti wants to set aside two-point-seven million additional dollars in an economic contingency fund.
“But, my concern is that revenues are gonna be flat this year and if we have some kind of disaster or a need that we need to use this economic contingency fund for, we would have that ability to do so,” said Mossotti.