Ronnie Bastin- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Mayor
Ronnie Bastin is the experienced leader we need. A former Police Chief and Commissioner of Public Safety, Bastin ran multi-million-dollar departments and oversaw thousands of employees.
He has plans to modernize crime fighting by getting at the root problems, tackling the opioid epidemic, and keeping our students safe from guns in schools. Bastin will execute these plans by hiring more police officers, appointing a Director of Drug Enforcement and Prevention, and making school safety a top priority.
Bastin is the ONLY candidate who can balance our budget and protect our priorities. During his time as our Police Chief, Bastin managed multi-million dollar budgets during the worst economic times since the Great Depression. As a fiscally responsible police chief Bastin cut spending and waste without laying off a SINGLE police officer, and he routinely returned any excess money from the police budget to the city. Ronnie is married to Dr. Sandra Bastin and has two children, James and Victoria.
1. Do you support prioritizing infill/redevelopment as Lexington’s primary growth strategy? Under what circumstances would you support expansion of the Urban Services Boundary or Rural Activity Centers?
We must be smart about future growth. Lexington is a city people want to move to. We know growth is going to happen, so we must plan for it. To date, Lexington planning officials have been innovative in some of their approaches to growth. This is evidenced by the defined growth boundary, the PDR program, which has been in operation since 1958.
I will support the exploration of incentives for infill and redevelopment projects within the Urban Services Area. I am interested in looking at incentives for development as well as buyer incentives to increase demand in areas targeted for infill development and redevelopment.
I will work closely with the LFUCG Planning staff to follow agreed upon goals, as outlined in the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. I believe that inclusion of all stakeholders in the conversations about smart growth, infill projects and expansion is vital to make sure unanticipated consequences—such as gentrification—are avoided.
2. What specific recommendations do you have to protect the character and context of existing neighborhoods while diversifying our housing stock to meet the needs of our community?
Lexington is a great place to live. I have worked here, raised a family here and I want to make sure we maintain that high quality of life for future generations. Our mix of untouched rolling bluegrass, horse farms, vibrant urban center and small town charm is what makes Lexington special. Each of these things is individually important to our cities character and must be valued and maintained. As we grow, we must do so in a way that prioritizes protecting our green space, and making the most of our already developed landscape.
3. What specific recommendations do you have to address Lexington’s affordable housing issue?
As mayor I will continue to provide financing for the affordable housing fund. In addition, I will work with builders, developers and landlords to find ways to incentivize building more affordable housing in Lexington.
4. The number of households headed by someone aged 65 or older is projected to increase significantly over the next decade and beyond. What specific recommendations do you have to meet the needs of our growing senior population?
As Mayor, I will continue support the work of the Office of Aging and Disability Services. Lexington has a strong record of providing care, recreation and educational opportunities for our seniors. I will continue that work. The Lexington Senior Center, The I-Know Expo and The Senior Intern program are just some of the examples of the great ways our city invests in our senior citizens. As mayor, I would like to see these services expanded, or have any costs associated with participating in these programs lowered—so as to make them more accessible to more people in the community.
5. Do you support an annual funding allocation for Lexington’s Purchase of Development Rights Program (PDR)? Please list your specific ideas to support the continued strength and growth of our agricultural and tourism industries.
I do support the PDR program. I believe continuing funding for this program will allow us to show our commitment to horse farms, as we look carefully and strategically at infill and growth of our city.
6. Citizens have noted frustration with traffic congestion. What are your specific ideas to address traffic congestion?
Part of my smart growth plan involves getting ahead of the traffic problem, as we grow, we must plan for additional traffic and infrastructure needs. Targeted infill growth on major traffic arteries would allow more use of public transportation. In addition, working alongside traffic engineering experts, I have a plan to improve the quality of Lexington’s traffic flow using methods that take into account the number of cars on the road, the time of day and traffic flows. I believe launching this method will have a significant improvement on travel in Lexington.
7. The 2018 Comprehensive Plan for Lexington includes a goal to create “a new process for determining long-term land use decisions” involving the Urban Services Boundary and Rural Activity Centers. If you support the creation of this new process, what are some of the elements that should be included?
Lexington is rapidly growing in terms of population, and transforming in terms of infrastructure, neighborhoods and traffic flow. It is for these reasons we must be both strategic and thoughtful when considering how we grow over the long-term.
First, we must establish parameters and boundaries for land that will NEVER be developed, in order to protect the landscape that gives Lexington unique character.
Next, when considering how and when to expand the Urban Service Boundary we should consider: housing and population density; specifically the effects of these issues on infrastructure, housing prices, traffic and crime. We need to identify the “tipping point” for when the aforementioned issues would be made unacceptable by infill development, and make plans to expand before critical mass is achieved.
Finally, I believe that before a new plot of undeveloped land is sold, that the buyer/developer must be able to prove they have adequate financing to finish the proposed project. This will improper land speculation and land buying/holding activity.
All of these things, taken together, are an integral part of my Smart Growth strategy.
8. What is the biggest challenge facing Lexington? What are your specific recommendations to address that challenge?
The biggest challenge facing Lexington continues to be crime. Violent crime and the opioid epidemic are more specifically driving the rise in crime we are seeing in Lexington. Crime has a direct impact not only on safety, but also the economy and quality of life.
The greatest opportunity we have is also relative to crime. Crime has a direct impact not only on safety, but also the economy and quality of life. With the election of its next mayor, Lexington has an opportunity to tackle the issues related to crime head on, by choosing a leader with experience and common sense plans for reducing crime, keeping our children safe in schools, providing treatment resources for those addicted to opioids and serving justice to those who are selling the drug and fueling the epidemic. When crime is down, property values increase, schools are safer, businesses are attracted to our community and economy flourishes.