I also cannot support the continued use of pension bonds to pay down Lexington’s unfunded pension liability. Issuing bonds to settle a lawsuit is one thing, but borrowing money each year to gamble in the stock market is a very bad idea. Issuing bonds to make LFUCG’s annual required pension contributions is a sure sign that Lexington is living beyond its means and can’t pay its bills.
Lexington doesn’t have a revenue problem; we have a public safety crisis. Our revenues are increasing, but for the past decade we have been diverting funds from government services to public safety. Since 2002, LFUCG’s annual general fund revenue grew by $87 million, more than 80 percent of which has gone to police, fire, corrections and now debt service on pension bonds. Yet since 2002, funding for social and community service partner agencies grew by just $229,509, and funding for arts and cultural agencies has grown by only $4,510.
Public safety is the most important thing we do, but it is not the only thing we do. If we don’t embrace urgent and immediate pension reform, Lexington’s citizens will see higher taxes and deeper cuts in services for many years to come.
Doug Martin is the 10th District Council Representative. He can be reached at email@example.com or (859) 425-2285. For updates, visit his Council web page at www.lexingtonky.gov/District10.