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How Should Lexington Spend $120M In American Rescue Plan Funds? The City Is Asking.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Lexington expects to receive $120 million—or more than a fourth of the city’s entire annual budget—in federal American Rescue Plan dollars. When it comes to spending that money, the city is taking that question directly to residents. 

Like most checks from the federal government, this one will come with a few instructions. But the city still has lots of leeway—so much, in fact, that they’re asking the public for ideas on where to spend the dollars.

"We have no idea what kind of ideas we'll get," Mayor Linda Gorton said, predicting hundreds if not thousands of entries. 

The city plans to solicit input through a number of channels, from town halls to neighborhood gatherings to an online survey. Preference will be given to certain types of projects, however. 

"The top priority are projects that would have a direct impact on vulnerable populations and projects that would help people most severely affected by the pandemic," Vice Mayor Steve Kay explained during a Thursday press conference. 

Another factor that might push your idea toward the top of the list: no ongoing costs that could burden future budgets.

Public hearings are slated for the weeks of July 26, August 2, and August 9.

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.