The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council approved the fiscal year budget Thursday night, but during deliberation, there was controversy over spending on the County Courthouse.
Included in the 2016 budget is $22 million dollars to renovate the courthouse building on Main Street. It’s lain vacant for three years due to disrepair and hazardous materials. At Thursday’s council meeting, 12th District Representative Ed Lane expressed his concern over the project’s viability. He said the city would only be able to rent out approximately one-third of the building’s area, and renovations would cost approximately $1685 per square foot.
“That’s quite above the market rate for space in downtown Lexington, and we don’t have a business plan and the mayor indicated we would be running this building for at least a hundred years, so we need to look at the total cost to the government over a hundred years for the building,” he said.
To that end, Lane made a motion that would prevent funds from being disbursed until the council approved a full business plan. While supported by Jennifer Mossotti, other said repairs had been postponed long enough, including Jennifer Scutchfield.
“We do not have hundred year old buildings in this city anymore and I just, I cannot fathom having it torn down and having another piece of land sitting there not having something on it," she said.
Outvoted, Lane’s motion was defeated.