Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton is recommending ‘a continuation budget’ that she says resets the city’s spending. Gorton delivered her suggestions for the $379 million budget to council Tuesday afternoon.
The first-term mayor says private sector job and salary growth have slowed and so funds coming into the city are lower than expected. Gorton says fixed costs for utilities, pensions, personnel, and debt service have increased. Still, citizens should not expect to be asked to dig deeper into their pockets.
“There are no tax increases built into this budget. There are no layoffs. There are no raises for non- sworn personnel,” said Gorton.
Gorton says higher paid senior leadership staff in city government will have an unpaid 12-day furlough. The mayor says she will write a check back to the government for her portion since elected officials can’t be furloughed.
Gorton is proposing to close the Picadome pool and adjust some park program scheduling, but not make any changes regarding public golf courses.
Gorton will meet with council members this week in a workshop, something which she says is a first.
Vice Mayor Steve Kay called the information outlined in the mayor's speech, quote, “a very sobering message for the community.” “The chart that says the rising cost of government that we really have no control over, like the rising cost of pensions and the slowdown in our economy that means the revenues aren’t keeping pace. So, we have to make some adjustments and I think they're pretty serious,” said Kay.
The mayor says projections indicate even bigger financial challenges next year. Council will consider Gorton’s suggestions and act on a budget in June.
Here's Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton's budget address in its entirety: