Colby Khoshreza – 2020 Primary Questionnaire
Running for: 9th District Council
Campaign Website: https://www.colbykforcouncil.com/
1. What do you see as the single most important issue facing your district?
The most important issue in the 9th district is the safety and wellbeing of the citizens in our neighborhoods.
What is your plan to address this issue?
As property crime seems to be on the rise, we need to be more vigilant in maintaining safe neighborhoods. We must continue strong funding for our public safety division. I am a supporter of a consistent level of funding for safety so that police officers and firefighters have adequate resources and manpower. I am committed to fostering relationships and communication between neighborhood associations and police; hosting frequent district-wide forums that educate citizens on crime prevention tips; and establishing and supporting neighborhood crime watch programs.
2. In recent years Lexington’s budget obligations have outpaced its ability to generate revenue. In the FY 20/21 budget, this has dramatically impacted everything from economic development to social services. What strategies do you recommend to address revenue shortages while balancing spending priorities?
The top priorities for city spending should be (in order of importance): public safety, essential services (streets, garbage, sewers, etc.), and providing services to at-risk populations. I generally do not support revenue increases through taxation. The city should take every opportunity to re-visit budgetary items in order to bring spending in line with existing revenue.
3. Lexington’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan encourages infill and redevelopment as Lexington’s main growth strategy. What specific implementation aspects of the Comprehensive Plan are working and what challenges need to be addressed?
The Plan continues to successfully protect the farms surrounding Fayette County. It is important, as we continue to promote infill and redevelopment, that we engage district residents regarding new developments that impact them. This will require communicating new developments with neighborhoods; holding forums for community input with all stakeholders; supporting developers while requiring them to produce quality infill and redevelopment projects; and advocating for neighborhood interests.
4. Lexington faces challenges across districts with regard to housing affordability, diversity and accessibility. What is the City’s role in addressing affordable housing and how would you recommend prioritizing policy change to address these challenges?
The city’s role in guiding housing access is key to ensuring that citizens are healthy and safe. Lexington should continue to look for ways to increase affordable housing while ensuring the integrity and stability of existing neighborhoods. I support funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to incentivize developers to create affordable housing options. We must also increase housing diversity by remaining open to different types of developments.
5. The impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and non-profits will be significant and long lasting. What will you do as a council member to support their recovery and foster their resilience?
Lexington must continue to be supportive of local businesses and non-profits during this time of economic recovery. In the short term, the Council should look to restore partial funding to key non-profits that provide emergency services to our at-risk populations. Going forward we should partner with Commerce Lexington and other agencies to develop a Local Lexington campaign that promotes and drives customers to local businesses in Fayette County.
6. Over half of the city budget’s General Fund is allocated to public safety, yet those needs are different in each district. How will you address the specific public safety needs of your district while ensuring that those services are responsive to and effective for the community as a whole?
We must continue strong funding for our public safety agencies. I am a supporter of a consistent level of funding for safety so that police officers and firefighters have adequate resources and manpower. Ongoing communication, attending neighborhood meetings, fostering relationships between neighborhoods and police, advocating for more frequent police patrols, and hosting frequent district-wide meetings will help educate and drive our district’s response to neighborhood crime.
7. Revenue shortfalls have made it difficult for the city to continue supporting external social resource agencies at a time when they are needed most. What specific city-level policies do you support to ensure that every resident has access to a basic quality of life?
Lexington has an obligation to create a safe and healthy community for all people. We must remain dedicated to partnering with agencies that aid residents who need it the most. First, I support a consistent level of funding to the Office of Homelessness. Second, I pledge to support ongoing funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Finally, I would also advocate for funding our social service grants for non-profits that provide emergency relief to at-risk populations.
8. Lexington’s tax revenue base is dependent on a thriving and sustainable local economy. What are your top three priorities for helping the city promote and support economic development?
We must routinely evaluate and retool our economic approach to attracting and retaining high paying jobs in our city. My top priorities include continued partnerships with educational institutions to meet gaps in our local workforce; leveraging and finding new opportunities around our core economic bases of horses, healthcare, higher education, and high-tech sectors; and expanding our tourism efforts to better promote our iconic Bluegrass region, our horse farms, and local distilleries.
9. In light of the COVID-19 crisis and new voting regulations, what can you do as a council member to improve voting access, education, and security?
Voting access and education is crucial – especially as we move towards mail-in absentee ballots. We must do frequent and clear promotions through all media types to educate the public on how to request a ballot and the associated deadlines for submission. The Council should continue to provide the needed funding to the elections department of the Fayette County Clerk so they have the appropriate level of staffing and resources to protect and secure the mail-in voting ballots
10. The agricultural sector has a $2.3B economic impact on Fayette County, accounting for over $8.5M of the city’s payroll revenue. It is poised to grow with the support of Mayor Gorton’s Administration for making Fayette County a center for ag-tech. As a councilmember, what are your priorities for the agriculture and
food system economy?
I will be a strong supporter of preserving our horse farms and agricultural economy. Our local food coordinator has been critical to jumpstarting our efforts to grow and sustain our local food economy. Going forward we must ensure careful maintenance of the urban boundary, continued funding for the purchase of development rights program (PDR), and support of local food initiatives including the Bluegrass Farm to Table Program which connect local farmers with retailers and food suppliers.
11. Well-planned infrastructure strengthens communities, boosts local economies, expands opportunity, and promotes equitable development. What policies would you support to achieve a more accessible, efficient, and sustainable transportation system in Lexington and the Bluegrass region?
We must be strategic and thoughtful about managing our transportation systems. We should increase efforts to promote and enhance mass transit services including establishment of rapid transit lines to make for faster mass transit travel. The Re-Imagine Nicholasville Road project is looking to improve travel and I support these efforts. It is also important that we continue to look at change of turn lanes, traffic light timing, and emphasize the building of more walkable communities.
12. Meaningful public participation is vital to a responsive local government. What are three innovative approaches that you would advocate for to make government processes more accessible, equitable, and transparent?
Accessibility and transparency are crucial aspects of effective government. In order to make myself more accessible I would host quarterly district-wide meetings that would provide updates to residents while also soliciting feedback and ideas. I will also host frequent in-district open houses at local coffee shops to connect with residents. Further, I would advocate that city council meetings are broadcast on Facebook live in order to engage more constituents.