A leader in community affairs, business and government, 5th District Councilmember Bill Farmer, Jr. has a distinguished record of service to both the people of the 5th District and to Lexington as a whole. Bill is a life-long resident of the 5th District and has served on Council from 1997 to 2006 and again from 2010 to the present.
For more than two decades, Bill has worked to correct infrastructure challenges, balance economic trends and bring opportunities to the 5th District. As a Councilmember, his priorities are to develop responsible, balanced city budgets; conduct regular audits and oversight of public agencies; fund more police officers to keep our city safe; and support sewer repair and maintenance as well as street paving and sidewalk upkeep.
Bill currently chairs the Environmental Quality & Public Works Committee, successfully implementing the $590 million-dollar federally-mandated EPA Consent Decree, which will ultimately correct flooding and sanitary sewer overflows throughout Lexington-Fayette County. He also chairs the Sister Cities Commission; is a member of the Budget, Finance & Economic Development Committee; serves on the General Government & Social Services Committee; and serves as a board member and Chair of Finance for Central Bank Center (formerly Lexington Convention Center), completing a $286 million-dollar convention center rebuild and modifications to Rupp Arena. He also serves on the board of LexArts and chairs the Public Arts Commission, established by the Percent for Arts Ordinance he fought to get passed.
He has brought new life to Lexington’s corridors as former chair of the Corridors Commission; he chaired the Fire and EMS Task Force; he served as chair of the Planning Committee, shepherding the approval of two complete updates of the Comprehensive Plan; and chaired the Services Committee, which enacted Lexington’s Smoking Ban Ordinance.
5th District Councilmember Farmer’s financial acumen and leadership has proven indispensable across key departments and divisions within the LFUCG in many ways. He has:
- Guided Water Quality infrastructure needs in keeping with Lexington’s $590mil federally-mandated EPA Consent Decree, including the nearly $9.3mil Wet Weather Storage Tank on Richmond Road; the Cooper Drive Stormwater Project, part of a $2.5mil upgrade to relieve area flooding; and other needs to maintain Lexington’s sanitary and stormwater pipelines
- Placed money in the city’s budget for better pedestrian safety, including the rebuild of the pedestrian signal at the Fonatine/Chinoe intersection; the installation of crosswalks at the intersection of St. Ann and St. Margaret near the entrance to Idle Hour Park and on Chinoe Road; and in support of the varied traffic studies and plans initiated by 5th District residents
- Directed Coronavirus pandemic relief and other funding to outside agencies left out of the Mayor’s budget, including:
- Cooling centers at Lighthouse Ministries—a provision overlooked by the administration—and support for their ongoing efforts to feed, shelter and care for those in need, specifically those facing homelessness in the Lexington community during the Coronavirus pandemic
- Support of entities like Sisters Road to Freedom, Inc. for their weekly clothing and food bank, which since before the COVID-19 pandemic began has received referrals from area hospitals once individuals have been released from care as well as a steady influx of lower-income individuals and families who rely on the food the organization provides
- Invested over $200,000 in Ecton Park for tennis court renovation, dugout replacement and ballfield improvements as well as walking trail enhancements
- Included in Lansdowne-Merrick Park over $445,000 in budget needs to add restrooms, shelter and a concession stand for the use of neighbors and in collaboration with Eastern Little League, and to rejuvenate tennis courts, add new trails and exercise equipment
- Advocated to place the Lexington Senior Center—a $13mil project—within the 5th District and adjacent to Idle Hour Park
- Secured and helped to oversee $100,000 in repairs to the Kenwick Community Center
- Implemented $20,000 in improvements to add stability to the natural water feature located in Clays Spring Park, a historic water source used by Henry Clay and those working the land surrounding what is now known as Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate
- Provided yearly support of Community Gardens in both the Kenwick neighborhood and in Lakeshore Village
- Rejuvenated and expanded the play space and playground equipment at Lakeview Park
- Worked on major 5th District roadway improvements such as the Mt. Tabor Redesign and the Chevy Chase Intersection Rebuild projects
- Paved over $3.5 million dollars in lane miles in the 5th District
- Completed the $286mil Central Bank Center rebuild (formerly Lexington Convention Center) and modifications to Rupp Arena
- Completed sidewalk projects throughout the 5th District, created walking and bicycle trails on Chinoe Road and improved connectivity and safety for pedestrians and motorists alike on Winchester Road
Bill and his sister, Kristi Farmer Lykins, have proudly followed in their parents’ footsteps, successfully operating the Chevy Chase landmark, Farmer’s Jewelry, which celebrates its 70th year in business in 2020. Bill is past president of the Chevy Chase Merchants Association (now Chevy Chase Business Owners Association) and continues to be integrally involved in the ongoing development and promotion of Chevy Chase and the surrounding area.
He is also past president of the Lexington Forum, and he is a graduate of Henry Clay High School and the University of Kentucky. He holds a Graduate Gemologist Degree from the Gemological Institute of America. A respected industry leader, Bill served two terms as President of the Kentucky Jewelers Association and Board Chair of the American Gem Society. He was inducted into the National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2015, Bill won the prestigious Robert M. Shipley Award for lifetime achievement to the American Gem Society, as well as Jewelers of America, the largest industry association.
Bill and his wife, Kimberly Edmundson Farmer, are parents to Will and Amanda. They have three grandsons, Derek, Jackson and Rhett.