UPDATE: Proposed $473 million city budget passes on second reading

Councilmembers David Kloiber and Richard Maloney voted against the proposed budget

UPDATE (6/14/22) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton’s proposed $473 million budget has been approved. On Tuesday, council members held a second reading and voted to approve the budget 12-2.

“I view the budget as a roadmap, meaning we have different ways of getting there,” said Councilmember Amanda Mays Bledsoe, who represents District 10. “But it’s a roadmap in how the city invests our resources to invest in our community. As such, there are bumps along the way.”

City leaders say it’s the largest budget passed. The budget prioritizes public safety and affordable housing. Money also goes towards One Lexington- aimed at reducing violence in the city— and for flock cameras. There’s also one-time funding for other projects.

“I believe that this body has done its’ best to serve this community in fashioning this budget,” said Vice Mayor and Councilmember At-Large Steve Kay.

Some voiced oposition. Councilmembers David Kloiber and Richard Maloney voted against the proposed budget.

Maloney said he believes the budget will cause problems within the next few years, including workers furloughed or laid off.

“We’re on a track that we are gonna have to raise taxes,” said Maloney, who is a Councilmember At-large. “And one thing that I wanna say if you raise these taxes, which we will, do not blame the police department for raising this tax. Because that’s what’s going to be the excuse that we’ve used before that our public safety is the bulk of the budget. Right now, we have money to survive for the next three years and to get the economy back on track.”

Kloiber saying the budget doesn’t have a clear path to the future.

“This budget, we’re spending every available dollar that we have from multiple one-time sources, for projects and personnel that will require ongoing expenses,” said Kloiber, who is also running for mayor.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton revealed her proposed city budget Monday, addressing pent-up needs from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic hardships faced during that period. The mayor calls her budget “bold” and says it helps fund a lot of one-time projects.

“We have several pots of money, including greatly increased revenue predictions to fund the budget,” says Mayor Gorton.

Gorton says the proposed $460 million budget with priorities placed on public safety and affordable housing. The mayor says after talking to council members about what they wanted to see, everyone mentioned more funding for One Lexington, an organization working to reduce youth gun violence. A new program within One Lexington looks to increase mediation between kids in heated disagreements before things escalate.

“Everybody, whether they’re one year old or ten years old has to learn how to have a healthy disagreement,” says Gorton. “This is what a lot of this is about is learning how to disagree with people and not pull out a weapon.”

In the proposed budget, the mayor has set aside $375,000 for One Lexington, as well as hiring an additional person to help the organization.

While Lexington’s homeless aren’t directly addressed in the proposed budget, Gorton says federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is directed to help end homelessness. Part of that includes adding more affordable housing options in the city.

The mayor says with the creation of the Lexington Neighborhood Investment Fund, nonprofits will be able to turn abandoned properties into livable homes. The mayor has allotted $1 million towards this fund, where she says organizations will be able to apply for zero-interest loans.

“Lots and lots of communities are seeing these rising costs,” says Gorton. “So we’re trying with that fund to help entities convert more homes into affordable housing. It’s just a different way of adding to our toolkit.”

The mayor also plans on making improvements on basic needs, like food. In the proposed budget, $260,000 will be used to buy a mobile food truck to sell fresh produce in areas where it’s hard to find. Gorton says this cost is just to get the program up and running and in the future, community partners will stock and operate the rolling grocery store.

The mayor’s proposed city budget also includes funding for the Flock camera pilot project, designed to cut down on crime in the city. You can read more in-depth about the Flock camera project HERE. Gorton says she assumes the license plate reading cameras will have success and wants to have funds in place to continue the it. After the pilot program ends March 2023, Gorton has budgeted $275,000 for an additional 75 Flock cameras around the city, bringing the total cameras to 100.

The proposed budget includes a 5% raise for non-sworn government employees. Gorton says the city is in the middle of a compensation study and has set aside $5 million to implement the study findings.

“We want to ensure that we take care of our employees and that means paying them fairly,” says Gorton. “We have to compete in a very tough labor market.”

Mayor Gorton has many more plans for the city budget in the next year. To read the full budget and see what the money is slotted for, click the link HERE.

Gorton says her proposed budget is now in the hands of council. The final reading is set for June 14th.

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