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Council Adopts FY 2012 Budget, Including $1 million to PDR Program

KY Farm | Photo courtesy of Jeff Rogers | www.jeffrogers.com

The Fayette Alliance supported Mayor Gray’s recommendation to allocate $1 million to the LFUCG Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program during this year’s budget.

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Thank your council member for supporting the $1 million local match for the PDR program and farmland preservation.

As Council approved the $1 million “local match”, PDR will receive $1 million in matching funds from the Federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program-thereby doubling the program’s revenues for farmland preservation in Fayette County.

Even in today’s lean budgetary climate, this is an exciting opportunity for cityhall to invest twice the money for half the price in farmland protection- a win-win for the community considering there are currently 37 farms in the PDR pipeline waiting to sell easements on 3,100 acres. The $2 million in local and federal dollars will result in an additional 700 acres of prime Bluegrass soils under conservation easement here in Fayette County.

This is a great investment even in today’s challenging economic times, constituting less than 1% of the overall LFUCG budget. PDR has accomplished incredible results for the benefit of the entire community—including protecting over 25,000 acres of farmland in Fayette County which is the “factory floor” of our $3 billion signature agricultural industries supporting over 20,000 local jobs, our future food security, internationally acclaimed Bluegrass brand, and unique quality of life that attracts investors, professionals, and visitors alike.

Also, farmland pays for itself and then some, as it generates more revenue on the dollar than it demands in city services—a net gain of 7 cents to be exact. This money goes into LFUCG coffers to pay for trash collection, police, fire, and other essential services that benefit all of us.

While we understand the need to reduce the annual PDR local match from $2 million to $1 million during the current recession, the Alliance hopes that full funding can resume next year hopefully when the economy recovers. Simply put, PDR and farmland preservation are critically important to Lexington-Fayette County and they must continue to be a major priority for our community.

Moreover, along with PDR, the Alliance will continue to promote the adoption of a land bank, vacant land commission, affordable housing programs, design guidelines, and other incentives to facilitate new, responsible growth inside our city as feasibly possible. While many of these programs are not likely in today’s fiscal climate, hopefully they will become a reality as our economy improves in the years to come.

No doubt, urban and rural vitality are essential components in making our community one of the premier destinations in America, and thank you for spreading this message to Council. On June 24th, the Council adopted the FY 2012 LFUCG budget by a vote of 11-4, including a $1 million allocation to the PDR program. In this tight fiscal time, our dedication to farmland preservation, agribusiness, environmental stewardship, and local food is the right choice. We appreciate the work of the PDR program and its role in our community.

Together we can accomplish a sustainable community for all of us!

Please email Knox van Nagell, executive director of the Alliance, if you have any questions.