Adrian Wallace- 2018 Primary Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Urban County Council At-Large
Candidate Website: http://www.wallaceforlexington.com/aboutadrian.html
1. What is the biggest challenge and opportunity facing the city of Lexington and your district (if applicable)?
The greatest challenge and opportunity facing Lexington today is the number 83. 83% of our entire General Fund budget comes from payroll taxes. Approximately 75% of the General Fund budget is spent on personnel for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. This only leaves a quarter of our city’s General Fund revenue to operate our city. Depending upon the amount produced from our payroll tax, this is our greatest challenge and opportunity. Lexington must consider new revenue streams but also increase high paying jobs that will then increase payroll taxes and the dollar amount behind that number, 83. There are many issues like public safety, parks, pavement, PDR…all important things…but without increasing our “83” we’ll always operate out of scarcity and struggle to prioritize our policies that most effect the people of our city.
2. The newly adopted Goals and Objectives of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan prioritize infill/redevelopment as a primary strategy to accommodate our growth needs. In fact, studies indicate there are many infill/redevelopment opportunities throughout the city. What specific recommendations do you have to protect the character and context of existing neighborhoods while pursuing this needed strategy? Would you support a program that provides incentives for infill/redevelopment projects within the Urban Services Area? If so, what specific types of incentives.
As the 2018 Comprehensive Plan prioritizes infill and redevelopment as a primary strategy to accommodate our growth needs, I would focus Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government resources towards projects that promote density and diversity, particularly along Lexington’s main corridors. South Limestone and Nicholasville Road would be a primary target area, as this densification would assist in creating more affordable housing, walkable spaces and a true need for effective mass transit. This type of development is expensive, and I would support public-private partnerships that create a collaborative approach to development that promotes economic growth and stability for the entire city. In order to assist in the subsidizing of these projects, I would recommend funding the Public Infrastructure Program.
3. Land use planning and economic development go hand-in-hand. What are the main economic pillars in Lexington and what specific planning policies support their growth? What specific policies do you support to ensure we create 21st jobs that maximize our unique assets?
Lexington, Horse Capital of the World, has an extremely diverse economy. Our largest employer is the University of Kentucky but we have many professional services, agricultural and other sectors that greatly impact our economic vitality. If our city is going to continue to thrive in the 21st Century global economy, we must have leaders who understand technology, how to attract tech sector employers and make true investment in affordable fiber-optic broadband internet. Lexington leaders must also begin to support our local farmers and incent local marketplaces and citizens to support Community Supported Agriculture, building back the on-farm employment that has been on the decline for over 40 years. I also believe that we can make informed decisions about land use in and outside of the Urban Services Boundary if necessary, along main corridors and in a controlled manner. This is an issue that seems to create contention among many and I believe with good leadership, we can build true community and cooperation to best serve all the people of Lexington.
4. Why are you the best candidate for the position you seek?
In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we have a saying, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” and I believe that more unites Lexingtonians than anything that could ever divide us.
The reality is that we all want to live in a place where we can raise our families, safe from harm, in good schools and comfortable homes. We all want an efficient government that properly stewards the tax dollars that we invest into the city of Lexington. The majority of our community shares common goals and we need leadership that champions this belief.
This, among many others, is the reason I believe I am the best candidate to represent the city of Lexington as an at-large council member, the place that I call my Old Kentucky Home. I am the strongest candidate because I don’t believe we need any more politicians but rather public servants, people who believe in building community, promoting economic growth and stability and expanding educational opportunity.
5. Like the rest of the nation, Lexington’s population is aging. In the next decade and beyond, a majority of households will be headed by someone 65 or older for the first time in our history. Our aging demographic has significant implications for housing and neighborhood design. What specific recommendations do you have to ensure we provide safe, accessible, affordable housing to our seniors in ways that ensure they maintain independence and social connections as they age?
In Lexington, we need to ensure that we guarantee a high quality of life for all our residents. We must foster and cultivate a creative culture in the Horse Capital of the World that extends beyond just Keeneland and Bourbon, because we’re so much more. Our aging population can participate in and contribute to our cultural strength, though oftentimes face barriers such as affordable housing and transportation. The advent of suburban areas and automobiles harmed the ability for our elders to live in walkable spaces with easy access to community and amenities. Mixed use development with intentionality around density, diversity and affordability will be key to protecting our most vulnerable seniors while also truly building generational community.
6. Fayette County agriculture is an annual $2.3 billion industry that supports one in twelve jobs in Lexington. Fayette County farmland is the factory-floor of this industry, which also anchors a burgeoning travel and tourism industry. To ensure continued viability of our agricultural industries, do you support an annual funding allocation to the Purchase of Development Rights Program? Why or why not. What other specific policies do you support to ensure the continued strength and growth of our agriculture industries?
In order to continue funding the PDR program, I would want to see a reorganization of the Rural Land Management Board with intentionality and diversity to ensure equitable outcomes. Also, to most effectively protect the farmland outside of the Urban Services Boundary, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government must fund infrastructure and incentives for infill and redevelopment inside the boundary. Another key policy priority must be funding for Community Supported Agriculture programs that would provide access to affordable, fresh food to Lexington residents while also creating economic opportunity for Fayette County farmers.