Lexington’s city council appears ready to increase the property tax rate to support streetlight service. The 15 member governing body opted not to raise the general service property tax rate.
The city’s streetlight fund, supported with a separate property tax assessment, faces a $2 million deficit. The 4% increase, given initial approval, generates $65,000. However, Council Member Preston Worley said the tax hike doesn’t address the issue. “This is an issue that I think needs a more holistic solution, a better solution than a $65,000 band aid on the back of taxpayers to a $2 million problem,” said Worley.
Even those supporting the property tax increase for street lights admitted the matter needs more attention. Increasing the utility franchise fee, which would affect all customers and generate much more revenue, will be studied in committee in the coming months.
Meanwhile, a motion to increase the general services property tax rate by 4% failed on a 3-12 vote. Council Member Amanda Mays Bledsoe was one of those casting a no vote. “The schools’ continual raise on property taxes has made that a very strong conversation among people that I know. And so, while this might be a small increase, it sends a message that I’m just not willing to support at this time,” said Mays Bledsoe.
Final action on tax rates is scheduled the end of August.
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