Willy Fogle – 2020 Primary Questionnaire
Running for: 9th District Council
Campaign Website: http://www.fogleforcouncil.com/
1. What do you see as the single most important issue facing your district?
Public safety concerns. People should feel and be safe where they live, work, and play. It is exceedingly difficult to attract businesses, home buyers or other investors to cities and neighborhoods that have significant crime or that are perceived as being unsafe. But neighborhood safety is about more than just the absence of crime. It is also about the opportunity for residents to build relationships with each other, enjoy vibrant public spaces, and have a shared trust with the government.
What is your plan to address this issue?
If elected, I will seek to serve on the Planning and Public Safety Committee where you have a more involved focus on Lexington’s public safety situation. In addition, I will request to meet on a recurring basis with Lexington’s Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Director of Community Corrections, and the City’s Commissioner of Public Safety to ensure an open line of communication. I will also meet with neighborhood leaders, the Fayette County Neighborhood Council and constituents on an ongoing basis.
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?
Due to the budget shortfall Lexington faces, I believe an “everything is on the table” strategy has to be the approach. Every dollar spent must be scrutinized like never before. Our city is overly reliant on its occupational taxes, which limits revenue growth potential. I am proud of the nickname I earned years ago, “Frugal Fogle.” That is my personal approach. I believe that if the expenditure is not absolutely essential in times like this, do not propose nor approve it
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?
I fully support the Comp Plan which is updated every five years for setting the direction for our future growth and development. It provides a planning road map for regulating growth, development, and redevelopment. It is imperative that we continue to address our future land use needs sensibly and deliberately. Now is the time to monitor the impact of the 2018 plan, learn from it, and make adjustments as applicable for the next Comp Plan. Community feedback is essential.
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?
Lexington’s Office of Affordable Housing, created in 2014, was created to help create affordable housing in our community and has made significant strides in that respect. I will support the effort and the Affordable Housing Fund that provides safe, quality, affordable housing. Too many people in our community continue to face a housing cost burden so much work remains to be done. Council must ensure the administration and management of the program is where it should be for continued success.
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?
A public-private partnership will be one way to achieve recovery. Government cannot do it alone. We need to develop a recovery road map as part of a comprehensive recovery strategy and then get the resources quickly into the hands of those impacted. If we fail to do so, we will face liquidity challenges, further job loss, and stagnation. For businesses and nonprofits to be able to survive, especially small and medium enterprises, they will need our full community support.
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?
Frequent communication with neighborhood leaders and constituents are essential to determining specific needs. Whether it be a “town hall” type meeting or one-to-one meeting, I will strive to keep the lines of communication open with constituents to best understand the needs and concerns of the district. As I noted previously, I will also seek to serve on the Council’s Public Safety Committee to better monitor our community’s needs and issues.
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?
We are in a time of uncharted waters. The Mayor and Council have not even formalized the next budget at this point. The situation is understandably very fluid. It would be premature to advocate for current policies at this juncture that may not be in existence when the next City Council is sworn-in in 2021. If elected, I will strive to review any proposed policy changes thoroughly that come before the Council and revisit any recent policy changes that appear to be detrimental to our community.
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?
1. Work with Commerce Lexington as applicable. 2. Fully support Lexington’s current Jobs Fund program. 3. Seek the ongoing input of the U.K. College of Business and Economics.
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?
The Council has limited options with respect to the logistics of voting other than educating constituents about the plans in place. I would support continued funding of the County Clerks Office as applicable similar to the new and improved voting machines budgeted last year. I would also welcome hearing of any voting issues or concerns that arise in our city. Everyone must do their part to ensure voting is easily accessible and that we have the most secure and trusted procedure possible.
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?
Ag-tech is a burgeoning industry and we are well positioned to capitalize. My priority would be to support an effort to attract innovative startups in the Ag-tech space. Unfortunately, in today’s tough economic climate, farmers may be more hesitant than ever to deploy new technologies. We must proceed cautiously. The establishment of a local food coordinator and Bluegrass Farm to Table program were smart moves and I will certainly support this ongoing effort as economic development.
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?
As crucial federal funding for essential transportation projects and programs are prioritized and channeled through the MPO planning process, I support the ongoing work of the Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Public transit planning is a core component of what they do. In addition, Lexington’s recently established Imagine Nicholasville Road project was certainly welcome to help eventually guide future traffic/transit-related decision-making for Nicholasville Road.
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?
In addition to email and utilizing social media and a district newsletter to reach constituents, I will work to educate constituents about the opportunity to attend “town halls” and participate in many City meetings and about Lexington’s LexTV which broadcasts and archives numerous City and Council meetings. Better communication is key. Many people are unaware of just how much information the City presently makes available to the public. The more citizen input, the better.