Mayor Jim Gray’s suggested $313 million general fund budget could jump by $1.5 million if the council presses forward with a number of proposals.
The council is weighing an extra $1 million for the purchase of development rights, a program that seeks to protect Fayette County's rural areas from development, in addition to the $1 million proposed by Gray in his April budget address.
Some council members are also asking for an additional $460,000 for social service programs – in part because of what Councilwoman Shevawn Akers argued were problematic changes in the city’s formula for awarding grants. She told the council some services that had scored high in the past are now winding up far lower on the funding priority list.
"That was a concern for us. How could someone rank number two in one year and thirty-two or below in the following year? So there is perhaps a problem with the scoring process itself and so we took that into consideration in some of the organizations that were funded," Akers said.
This year, social service programs were scored and ranked by a committee in an effort to make the process more transparent. 31 agencies out of more than 70 applicants scored high enough to receive funding.
The Urban County Council social service budget committee is recommending adding 12 more programs to the funding list. A final decision won’t come for several more weeks.