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Sewer Fees Increase, Food Truck Measure Passes, Taxi Ordinance Tabled

Three measures given first reading at a previous council meeting were resolved Tuesday, with mixed results. 
First, the Lexington Urban County Council has passed a measure that would raise the city’s sanitary sewer fee by 12%. The move is meant to raise funds to prevent the system from leaking sewage into local streams.  At a previous meeting, Vice Mayor Steve Kay said that the problems stem from poor infrastructure, and the repairs are long overdue. 

“For whatever reason, we did not have the political will to invest in infrastructure that needed to be fixed.  This is not a new problem.  It’s coming due on our watch, but it’s the right thing to do, and it’s something we should have been doing and we should be doing it whether we have a consent decree or not,” he said.   

Under the terms of a 2011 decree by the Environmental Protection Agency, Lexington is required to fix the sewer system or face stiff fines.  The current proposal will is designed to help the Division of Water Quality seek bonds for additional infrastructure, particularly storage tanks.  The average resident’s monthly bill is expected to rise from $24.36-$27.29, with similar increases in the following two years.

The second measure is an ordinance that would allow mobile food trucks to operate around certain businesses within the city, was approved Tuesday.  Specifically, they can sell their wares in P-1 zones, which consist of large professional office parks, while remaining at least 500 feet away from any residential zone.

Finally, an ordinance that would amend the city’s taxicab ordinance so that local cab companies could be more competitive with ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft was tabled.  Specific changes would include lowering the minimum amount of taxis required for a fleet from 25 to 10, allows taxi drivers to use a mobile app in place of a meter, and drops the need to be available for service at all times.  The cited reason for tabling it was so that the city could investigate how state rules on ride-sharing companies would affect specific provisions.  The measure will be revisited in August.

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.