The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) begins a new fiscal year on July 1st of every calendar year. Therefore Council must adopt the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget before the end of June 2017. I am pleased to report my colleagues and I approved the budget on schedule at last night’s (6/22/17) Council Meeting. You can view the FY18 budget ordinance and its formal path before Council here.
The most significant change to the FY18 budget versus previous years is the addition of 30 new police officers, the largest one-year increase for Lexington police since the city and county merged governments in 1974. Also included is sustained funding for the One Lexington Director, a staff person who will coordinate a community-wide response to drugs and crime. Council revisions to the Mayor’s Proposed Budget (MPB) were relatively few but included adding 12 staff to Fire & EMS as well as debt service for bonding the connection for Citation Boulevard and Winburn Drive. To support these and other changes, Council reallocated budget funds, perhaps most notably $500,000 combined from the Jobs Fund and the Public Infrastructure Fund. You can see the complete, detailed list of adopted Council revisions here. The list includes recommendations from Council and late budget updates from the Administration. For reference, the original MPB is available here.
The FY18 adopted budget was the result of a process I believe gets progressively better each year. Communication has improved, and the congenial norms of Council help us focus on doing good work. Much of our discussion during our final Budget Committee of the Whole Meeting focused on how to increase staffing sustainably for a growing population. Lexington has seen robust economic growth, but projections for the upcoming years suggest a plateau in the rate of increase. As part of our budget conversation, we also discussed ways to best support our signature rural area, including using PDR funding for Castleton Lyons. While a majority of Council did not support this item for FY18, we will continue to look for ways to preserve our iconic bluegrass.
I am thankful to my colleagues for contributing to a smooth process. As a Council, we will continue to look for ways to improve. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of my fellow Councilmembers who have chosen to withhold many important priorities until we can review the fund balance in the fall. I am also grateful to the work of Administration in crafting the budget and the thoughtfulness from the public’s engagement.