Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry will give his farewell address to the community Wednesday evening, talking about challenges he sees facing the city and accomplishments during his four years in office.
"I really believe the last four years have been of extraordinary significance in Lexington's history," Newberry said he plans to tell citizens.
Newberry was defeated in his bid for a second term by Vice Mayor Jim Gray, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 2.
He will speak from his office in the Government Center. The speech will be televised at 7 p.m. on GTV-3 and streamed live on the city's Web site.
In an interview with the Herald-Leader on Tuesday morning, Newberry touched on a few of the topics he plans to include in his speech.
"Clearly, financial issues are going to be of paramount importance, creating enough jobs so the payroll and occupational taxes will be adequate to fund local government," he said.
Payroll and occupation taxes are the two primary sources of income for the city.
"Beyond that the city will continue to balance preservation and growth," he said. "That's an ongoing issue for Lexington."
Adequate funding for the police and firemen's pension fund will also remain a significant issue for decades, the mayor said.
With approval from the Urban County Council, the city sold a $100 million bond earlier this year to help fund the pension system. But the fund continues to carry an unfunded liability of more than $200 million.
At the top of Newberry's list of accomplishments is helping facilitate the move of Eastern State Hospital to the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Research campus, then planning the move of Bluegrass Community and Technical College to the Eastern State property.
"That move will have a profound impact on this community for the next century," he said.
By putting Bluegrass at the corner of West Fourth Street and Newtown Pike, a higher education triangle will be formed around downtown with Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky making up the two other points.
"It will enable our community to have a vibrant economy, ensure our workforce is well trained and prepared for jobs of the future," he said. "The close proximity of those three campuses to our business community will ensure a lot of interaction."
The mayor will also tell the community he is proud of creating the Department of Environmental Quality within city government.
"It has put a number of people in a position where they are directly responsible for the environmental well-being of our community," he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency initiated a lawsuit against the city just weeks before Newberry took office, charging it with polluting streams and waterways in Fayette County. That lawsuit forced the city to deal with decrepit storm sewers and flooded basements throughout the community, issues Lexington had dodged for decades.
"It created an opportunity for our community to fundamentally shift in the way we deal with water quality issues," he said.