Kevin O. Stinnett- 2018 Primary Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Mayor of Lexington
Candidate Website: https://www.stinnettformayor.com/
1. What is the biggest challenge and opportunity facing the city of Lexington and your district (if applicable)?
Crime, and specifically the opioid crisis, is the biggest challenge facing Lexington today. Our number one responsibility in local government is to preserve and protect the safety of our homes, schools and neighborhoods.
I fought for funds to hire additional police officers in the city budget. I worked to resolve the shortfall in the police and fire employees pension program. That program is now considered the strongest in the state.
I made sure funds were provided for a K9 bomb-sniffing dog, Tilly, the only one in the state. I helped to start the Big in Blue program that allows police officers time off for mentoring children. I pushed for the creation of the LFUCG Substance Abuse Violence Intervention Office and helped start International Overdose Awareness Day at Jacobson Park.
Second, we must work closely with Fayette County Public Schools to protect our schools and give our children the best opportunity to prosper in the future. The safety of our children begins when they leave their home and we must provide safe neighborhoods and schools.
I helped bring the Career Academies to Lexington high schools. I worked to secure land for new elementary schools and a new high school. I established the new In-school Mentoring Program through Big Brothers/Big Sisters in William Wells Brown Elementary School.
I championed the LFUCG child mentoring campaign with FCPS and the United Way.
Third, local government must encourage a stable economy that stimulates job creation and effectively and efficiently delivers the basic services on which our citizens depend.
I helped establish the Workforce Development Office, the Workforce Development Grant Program and the JOBS Fund. I serve on the Commerce Lexington Economic Council.
I co-sponsored the establishment of the city’s first rainy-day fund. I pushed for the creation of the current debt management plan. I led the effort to construct new parks and trails and championed additional funds for paving and road construction. I was a leader in developing the strategy for fixing storm water and sewer problems.
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.
We must be ready for the next 10 years of population growth in Lexington. Infill and redevelopment is instrumental to protecting our rural landscape and industries that make us unique. The biggest challenges and opportunities with infill and redevelopment is the cost of land and the planning/zoning process. Both require adequate capital and time when completing a project.
I championed the current infrastructure fund that will help make infill projects more affordable and will fully fund it when elected Mayor. In addition, we must address our planning process and develop strategies to make it easier to do business with the city by speeding up our approval process and encourage development that fits in with the surrounding buildings and neighborhoods.
I recently introduced and passed legislation before the Urban County Council to create an Energy Project Assessment District in Lexington. This will make it possible for builders and developers to attain PACE financing to improve the energy efficiency of new projects.
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?
Virtually all of LFUCG’s funding comes from the occupational tax. Having a productive and growing work force is essential for Lexington’s economic health. I helped establish the Workforce Development Office, the Workforce Development Grant Program and the JOBS Fund. I serve on the Neighborhood Action Grant Committee. I serve on the Commerce Lexington Economic Committee. The main economic pillars in our community are healthcare, technology, horses, tourism and services. All benefit from one another and all must be successful if Lexington is to be the city we all want it to be.
Having a stable, growing economy starts with promoting stability and commonsense in our city budget. As chair of the city’s Budget, Finance and Economic Development committee, I’ve been on the front-line of job creation and stimulation in our city. I co-sponsored the establishment of the city’s first rainy-day fund. I pushed for the creation of the current debt management plan.
All of those initiatives are part of Lexington’s strategy for creating jobs and maximizing our assets. Moving forward, we must find a way to encourage millennials to come to Lexington and especially those graduating from UK, Transylvania and BCTC to stay in Lexington after graduation. We must be able to offer the jobs they want and the quality of life and affordable housing they desire. We also must find a way for businesses to utilize our Senior workforce for those Seniors wanting to continue to work after retirement.
4. Why are you the best candidate for the position you seek?
We have a very clear choice in this mayoral election. Other candidates are about where we have been, I am about where we are going. We have the opportunity to move Lexington forward with new enthusiasm and new energy. We have the opportunity to elect someone with proven experience getting results. We’re poised to meet the challenges of the future with a fresh perspective and new ideas.
We need to aggressively expand our attack on crime and the opioid crisis.
We have to build a stronger alliance with our schools to address safety and the education of our children in general.
And we have to assure our economic future by promoting jobs and opportunities for every Lexingtonian.
We are not done yet with Lexington. We can be better. We can do better. And we will, when I am your Mayor.
To move forward we have to keep looking forward. We need a mayor who works as hard as you work and cares as much as you care.
My message is a simple one – We’re not done yet making Lexington the great city we want it to be. Our strength is the bonds we share, Our future is the one we must build together.
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?
This is one of the first items my administration will work on when elected Mayor. We have a crisis in the Senior housing market in Lexington. Middle class Seniors are often unable to move out of their existing homes into affordable Senior living.
We have a shortage of Senior residential living in Lexington. We have high-end Senior living options and subsidized Senior living options, but no options for the bulk of our middle-class Seniors.
Many of our great older neighborhoods like Eastland, Gardenside, Southland Dr., and Pasadena are all good examples of this problem. Seniors have the affordable houses that millennials desire, but lack options for where to move if they choose to sell. We must find a way to provide those options for our Senior residents.
I propose three solutions to this problem. First, a landbank that is created by the city to take the cost of the infill land and zoning process out of the equation and facilitate partnerships with the private sector to build Senior housing throughout Lexington, similar to the way UK has been building its new dormitories.
Second, we must review our zoning and look at ways that would allow “grannie pods” in Lexington. This is a creative solution many other cities are utilizing that would allow Seniors to move in with their loved ones while maintaining safe and independent living. Third, we must find ways to incentivize businesses to rehire Seniors after retirement for those wanting to work. We have Seniors who are very skilled and have a lot to offer local businesses and we must find a way to connect them. This would also help with the current labor shortage in our city.
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?
I have supported the PDR program all 14 years on Council and feel it has done the job it set out to do and that’s to protect our Rural landscape. First, while I feel we have done a great job of protecting the land, we have not done a great job of protecting the horse industry and the industries in our rural areas. We must bring all Ag Industries to the table, not only the horse industry, and see how we can help them stay in business and stay in Fayette County. We recently did this with the Bluegrass Stockyards by offering an economic incentive. The cattle industry is very important to Lexington.
Secondly, the horse is our brand and a signature that benefits all areas of economic development. We must find ways to keep that signature brand in Lexington and help it grow. Events at the Kentucky Horse Park, The Red Mile and Keeneland, all types of horse activities need to be supported. From day one as Mayor, I will bring everyone to the table to share and discuss ideas on funding, marketing, branding, etc.
Third, we must continue to support current programs and help them grow, such as tourism and our local food program, while offering incentives to encourage alternative forms of agriculture production such as hemp and aquafarming.