The Lexington Urban County Council will resume debate in August on an ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over the next three years.
The council voted 11-4 during a work session Tuesday to discuss the ordinance at a special Aug. 20 meeting of the full council.
The move came less than two weeks after the council's Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee voted 6-3 to table the ordinance until a Jefferson County lawsuit challenging Louisville's minimum-wage ordinance was resolved.
Vice Mayor Steve Kay, who made the motion to bring the ordinance out of Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee, told the council during Tuesday's work session a Jefferson Circuit Court judge ruled last week that local governments had the authority to raise the minimum wage. The state Court of Appeals refused to issue an injunction stopping the minimum wage from taking effect on July 1 in Jefferson County. The case is still on appeal.
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"There has been interest on council for all of council to address this issue," said Kay.
But some council members accused Kay of circumventing the committee process by removing the ordinance from committee and bringing it to the full council for a vote.
Council member Bill Farmer told Kay the motion "disappoints me." The council works through the committee process, Farmer said.
"This has not been about people or policy, it's about politics," Farmer said.
Council member Jennifer Scutchfield said she didn't want to continue discussions if the state Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the Louisville lawsuit. Louisville voted to raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour over three years in December. A group of business groups has challenged the city's authority to set the minimum wage. Louisville was the first city in Kentucky to raise the minimum wage.
"I have no desire to waste taxpayer money," Scutchfield said.
Council member Jake Gibbs countered that the council has been going back and forth on debating the ordinance since March.
"It's time to vet this before this body," Gibbs said. "I think we owe the people of this county a decision."
Kay said he was not circumventing the committee process. The council rules allow for the council to remove an ordinance from committee and bring it to the full council for discussion, he said.
The issue will be discussed by the council at an Aug. 20 meeting called the "council of the whole." That means if the council takes any action at the meeting of the council of the whole, it is not binding. The issue would have to be voted on again during another council meeting.
Those who voted against continuing debate on the minimum-wage ordinance included: Farmer, Scutchfield, Amanda Bledsoe and Fred Brown.
Those who voted to continue debate: Kay, Gibbs, Jennifer Mossotti, Angela Evans, Susan Lamb, James Brown, Shevawn Akers, Ed Lane, Peggy Henson, Kevin Stinnett and Richard Moloney.