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Lexington's great parking rate debate makes its way to Frankfort

Josh James

The hotly-debated parking fee and enforcement changes in Lexington are driving a piece of legislation that could end up on Gov. Andy Beshear's desk.

Senate Bill 75 would mandate that the Lexington Parking Authority, an independent government agency not originally designed to receive direct taxpayer dollars, clear an extra hurdle before making rate changes — like the ones that received pushback from downtown businesses and visitors.

Sponsor, Sen. Damon Thayer, described it this way.

"It would simply provide that any parking fee increase suggested by the Lexington Parking Authority be approved by people who are accountable to the voters, who actually have to face election," the leading Republican said. "That would be the Lexington city council."

But the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and Lexpark aren't fans of the bill, which they label Frankfort overreach.

City spokesperson Susan Straub told the Herald-Leader said parking is a local issue that has been handled at the local level.

Under a deal struck by city government and Lexpark, Lexington is paying the parking agency $200,000 annually to cover the cost of city employees parking in garages and Lexpark scaled back enforcement hours.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.