Lexington Council examining infrastructure fund format

Originally published by WEKU.

The Lexington City Council is working on modifications to its public infrastructure fund program. The program offers both interest free and forgivable loans. A key emphasis is on job creation, but also helping to meet housing needs. The matter received sizeable discussion last week. Council Member Liz Sheehan would like to see specific reference to housing.

“I just think the public sees this fund as something that will help us increase housing and so for us to then not put that kind of specific language in here, then is not consistent with what we are hearing from the community and what we have expressed in our comp plan,” said Sheehan.

The comp plan is the comprehensive plan which sets out residential and commercial development parameters. Budget Committee Chair James Brown said it’s also important to remember the establishment of sewers, water lines, and paving ties into economic development projects as well as housing.

Council Member Jennifer Reynolds asked how decisions are made when it comes to the loan type.

“I understand the need for flexibility. At the same time I get a little concerned with things like this because why one project might argue that they have that criteria and another one…you know how do you pick and choose without following guidelines. So, I just want to caution against that,” said Reynolds.

Two high profile projects in Lexington have benefitted from infrastructure funding. A million dollars apiece in support went toward an expansion at Keeneland and minor league soccer team stadium projects. Administrative Officer Craig Benz, in his presentation, said the funding is allocated through a reimbursement process. Two million dollars are included in the upcoming fiscal year budget for the public infrastructure program.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.