Susan Lamb – 2020 General Election Questionnaire
Running for: 4th District Council
Campaign Website: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/council-district-4
1. What do you see as the single most important issue facing your district, and what is your plan to address it?
The single most important issue facing the 4th District is traffic management in the neighborhoods. During the pandemic while more families are working from home, it is even more important that residents feel safe in their neighborhoods. The 4th District is bound by Tates Creek Road and Nicholasville Road and there are numerous cut-through streets. During peak hour travel times, more cars choose to travel through the 4th District rather than stay on the main corridors.
We request police presence to ensure those drivers obey the speed limits and stop signs. We also continue to work with neighborhoods and Traffic Engineering to work through the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan implementing traffic calming solutions. We continue to add more signage to ensure drivers know the speed limits and continue to update those signs within the neighborhoods. We want our neighborhoods to be a safe place for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as other drivers.
2. Given your understanding of Lexington’s long and complicated history around racial injustices, what do you plan to do to directly address inequality and its root causes in our city?
First step, realization that racial injustice does exist in our community. The Mayor’s Commission for Racial Justice and Equality recommendations will be one of many steps to understand how our community moves forward on addressing the racial injustices. I look forward to engaging in conversations with community members to discuss the recommendations as well as other thoughts and plans.
3. 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?
It is a known fact that Kentucky local governments are limited in the revenue options. We need to continue pushing our State Legislators to pass legislation that allows more local options. We need to continue looking for ways to provide services in a more cost-effective manner. We have learned about cost savings on operations while so many employees are teleworking so we need to review those savings and see if there are operations that we need to continue for cost effectiveness.
4. 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?
There have been several recent Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments relating to Infill and Redevelopment and I am hopeful that we will see more opportunities for development given these changes. Also, we are experiencing changes during the pandemic which are going to change the needs and demands as it relates to office space as more people continue working from home. I believe this will be part of the transition over time and it will also bring different development opportunities in our community.
5. 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 mission of the Affordable Housing Fund is to leverage public investment to preserve, produce, and provide safe, quality, affordable housing. The Affordable Housing Fund had an initial allocation of $3 million in the FY2014 budget. Annual allocations of at least $2 million were adopted by Ordinance 103-2014. While I fully support to continue annual allocations for Lexington’s Affordable Housing Program, I do believe going forward we need to discuss sustainable funding options.
6. 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?
We will continue to understand the needs of our local businesses and non-profits. In the meantime, we have used Reimbursement CARES funds to help with additional housing for our most vulnerable community members and grants for local businesses to support their recovery. I also supported an ordinance to create more outdoor space for restaurants during this time. I will continue supporting efforts such as these to help our local community.
7. In recent months, much of our country’s attention has been directed to issues of systemic racism, specifically as it applies to policing and the justice system. What measures would you support to ensure that Lexington’s policing and justice system is equitable?
Our police officers are currently completing adult Crisis Intervention Training and I want youth CIT to be implemented next. We need to continue to strive for our police officer’s demographics to more align with our community’s population. Police Neighborhood Resource Officers are very effective because they have the opportunity to get to know the neighbors. This builds respect and trust between police officers and neighbors which leads to safer neighborhoods. We need to have more NRO’s.
8. 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?
City-level policies are provided by many areas including social services, environmental services, public safety, general services to name a few. Each area is vital for our residents to access basic quality of life. I will continue to work with all areas to ensure we find ways to support our community.
9. 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?
I will continue to support the Lexington-Fayette County Industrial Authority who is managing the 250 acres in Coldstream to bring new businesses and create more jobs. Workforce development and business grant/loan opportunities continue to be very important priorities in supporting economic development. We need to look into Opportunity Zones to understand Lexington’s potential with this program.
10. LFUCG Council will soon have the responsibility of council redistricting. What is your approach to including public participation in the redistricting process?
Section 4.03 of our Urban County Charter explains the timeline for which a Redistricting Ordinance has to be approved. A committee will be appointed to review the 2020 Census data once that data is released. Each council district has an appointed constituent serving on the committee. I value public participation in all government processes and will review the past redistricting committee process to see where we can improve or change to ensure more public input opportunity.
11. The agricultural sector has a $2.3B economic impact on FayetteCounty, 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?
While the Ky. Secretary of State, Board of Elections and County Clerks have been making the decisions, I have disseminated their information via social media and newsletters. Following the 2016 election, I supported the financial obligation and decision to purchase state-of-the-art voting technology for the Fayette County Clerk which is being used in the 2020 election.
12. 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?
I am supportive of Lexington’s Farm to Table initiative. Also having local agri businesses mentor young farm owners to learn new ways to use their land and manage their farms. We are fortunate to have the University of Ky who plays a key role in helping agri-tech industry realize its full growth potential.
13. Lexington has temporarily suspended public comment in all public Zoom meetings. Meaningful public participation is vital to a responsive local government, and COVID-19 has created a new set of challenges in that regard. What strategies would you support to make ongoing public participation accessible for all?
Public participation is very important as is transparency in local government. I have discussed options with the administration that other cities are using for public comment. I believe the addition of a dedicated phone line to allow pre-recorded voicemail comments plus accepting written comments via email will help reinstate public participation until we figure out the hybrid meeting model where people will be allowed back in the Chamber to speak.