LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 18, 2014) — Lexington has a $13 million surplus as of Feb. 28, the result of a stronger economy and efficient management, Mayor Jim Gray announced Tuesday.
He is recommending to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council that a portion of the surplus, $3.5 million, be used for affordable housing and to address the needs of those who are homeless. And approximately $6.5 million would be used to meet a portion of the public safety requests for the next budget year, which begins July 1. The remainder of the funds would be monitored until the end of the budget year, June 30.
“All successful businesses recognize there are times when you have to save money to make money — cut costs. We have done a lot of that in recent years to make government more efficient. It is now part of every decision,” Gray said. “And successful businesses also recognize there are times when we need to spend money to make money by making responsible investments that meet essential needs and keep us competitive as a city.”
Of the $13 million projected surplus, $5 million is the result of improved revenue projections and $5 million comes from holding the line on spending.
Through a continuing emphasis on efficiency, cost savings in employee health insurance and cuts in pension costs, Lexington is on a path to restored financial strength, Gray said.
The recommendation concerning affordable housing addresses a growing need, he said.
“Gandhi taught us that a society is best measured by how it treats the defenseless and vulnerable,” the mayor said. “We know in our city there are too many who can’t find safe, affordable housing and too many who are homeless.”
All requests for public safety are one-time expenditures.
In police, funds would be used to replace 65 aging patrol cars, body armor and equipment for recruits. Total cost: $2.98 million.
In fire, the list includes an EMS wagon, one ladder truck and two engines, station repairs, protective clothing and thermal imaging equipment. Total cost: $2.98 million.
In addition to building updates and repairs, Community Corrections would purchase radios. Total cost: $535,000.