Fayette County

Lexington passes $370.7 million budget. Here's where the money will go.

Construction continues on the new Masterson Station fire station on Magnolia Springs Drive in Masterson Station subdivision. Mayor Jim Gray’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will include money for new firefighters to staff the fire station, which will be Lexington Fire Station No. 24.
Construction continues on the new Masterson Station fire station on Magnolia Springs Drive in Masterson Station subdivision. Mayor Jim Gray’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will include money for new firefighters to staff the fire station, which will be Lexington Fire Station No. 24. cbertram@herald-leader.com

The Lexington council gave final passage Tuesday to a $370.7 million budget that includes money for 25 additional firefighters, $12 million for paving and a 2 percent raise for most city employees.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted 12-0 during a special meeting Tuesday to approve the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The council made few changes to Mayor Jim Gray's proposed spending plan.

The budget calls for spending 3.5 percent more than the 2017 budget of $358 million. Council members Angela Evans, Amanda Bledsoe and Peggy Henson were absent.

Much of the city's discretionary spending went to a mandatory increase in payments for employee pensions.

There are no tax increases in the proposed budget.

Some of the big-ticket items council members added to the budget during deliberations include an additional $560,000 for sidewalks on Old Todds Road and $593,000 for a new dog kennel for the police K-9 unit. That's in addition to nearly $600,000 the city already set aside for the kennel.

Other spending in the budget includes:

Money for 25 additional firefighters, 24 of which will be needed to staff a new fire station in Masterson Station.

$44 million in borrowing, including $20 million in additional borrowing for the proposed expansion of the Lexington Convention Center. That's in addition to $10 million the city approved for the delayed expansion in the current-year budget.

$12 million for paving projects.

$2.7 million for new fire trucks, $2.5 million for new police cars and $1.3 million for fire station maintenance.

$2.6 million for park improvements, including a new playground at Shilito Park, a walking trail in Meadowthorpe and new basketball courts at Jacobson Park.

$100,000 to help Fayette County Public Schools purchase metal detectors.

The budget does not include money to hire an additional 30 police officers needed to start a fourth police sector in Lexington. The current budget included money for 30 new police officers, which is half the amount needed to create a new police sector that Gray proposed in his 2017 budget. Gray and council members said pressures on the budget meant the city would have to delay the creation of the fourth police sector.

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