From Metro Government:
Mayor Fischer unveils new budget that builds on city’s success, commits $23.5 million for road improvements
Includes dollars for Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Northeast Library design, additional LMPD officers, new animal shelter, Waterfront Park expansion
Mayor Greg Fischer today unveiled his proposed city budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which builds upon the city’s success and devotes $23.5 million to paving streets and repairing roads and sidewalks, the largest such investment in a decade.
The $822 million budget also devotes a significant investment — $2.5 million — to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund; $3.4 million to build a new animal shelter to replace the outdated and flood-prone facility on Manslick Road; and funds the design of a new Northeast Regional Library, the last of three major new regional libraries.
The budget also dedicates $950,000 to plan for Waterfront Park Phase IV and invests $2.6 million to help with the ongoing revitalization of the Russell neighborhood and in support of the CHOICE neighborhoods initiative.
The largest portion of the budget – 58 percent — is devoted to public safety agencies, including the hiring of 40 firefighters and 122 LMPD officers, and $12 million to replace police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, snow plows and garbage/recycling vehicles. It also includes $300,000 to expand the city’s camera network by 30 to 50 cameras, more overtime money for officers to patrol neighborhoods experiencing spikes in crime and additional staff resources for the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.
“This budget strikes a critical balance by focusing on areas of immediate concern — such as paving bumpy and deteriorating roads — while also making necessary investments to keep our city moving forward,” Fischer said in his budget address to the Metro Council. “This budget anticipates our needs, and it builds on our success.”
Included in the $23.5 million investment for road repairs and street improvements is $3 million for sidewalks and $500,000 for new bikes lanes. That’s the largest bike lane investment since Fischer took office and would bring the biking network to 200 miles, from the current 135 miles.
The road and paving commitment follows the city’s “fix it first” strategy and comes upon the heels of a Metro Council special committee that examined deferred maintenance and road needs citywide.
“The need here is critical – you know it, I know it and our citizens know it,” Fischer told the council. “The truth is that to fully address our deferred maintenance needs would require every single one of the $583 million of locally generated dollars in this budget – and then some.”
And to better showcase the beauty of Louisville beyond its downtown core, the Mayor also proposes funding additional resources to tackle the issues of graffiti and litter.
In dedicating $2.5 million in general fund dollars to the housing trust fund, Mayor Fischer also noted that the Metro Council could re-enact the gas franchise agreement to create a dedicated, recurring source of revenue for the trust fund. At 1 percent, it would generate $2.5 million a year; 2 percent would generate $5 million.
The budget also included $5.1 million in grants to local arts groups, non-profits and community ministries. A committee that includes Metro Council members determines which non-profits receive those competitive grants, and the Mayor accepts those recommendations without changes.
Other highlights of the proposed budget include:
- $6.1 million for new computer systems and software upgrades for city government;
- $4 million for HVAC and other upgrades at the 16-year-old Slugger Field;
- $1.7 million for general repairs in Metro Parks citywide;
- $1 million for repairs at the Louisville Zoo;
- $1 million to gain control of vacant and abandoned properties and return them to productive use;
- $600,000 for the SummerWorks program for teens;
- $500,000 for the Healing Place’s capital campaign to help expand services to citizens addicted to drugs and alcohol;
- $100,000 for a new public art project following the success of last year’s Connect/Disconnect art project on the banks of the Ohio River;
- $100,000 to plan for the re-imagined Broadway, from the Highlands to Shawnee, as part of the MOVE Louisville long-term transportation plan;
- $100,000 for a cool-roof incentive program to help combat the city’s urban heat island. These funds will be used to encourage private businesses to install cool roofs;
- A 2 percent raise for non-union city employees (union employee raises are set by their collective bargaining agreements).
“For the last five years, our improving economy and strong fiscal stewardship have allowed us to pay down our debt. That’s why we can afford to invest more in our future. In this budget, you’ll see $67 million in new debt, which we believe is responsible and will allow us to continue investing in future fiscal years,” Fischer said.
Metro Council will spend June conducting budget hearings; a final vote on the budget is expected June 23.
“We are fortunate to have tremendous momentum in our city,” Mayor Fischer said. “Let’s keep working together to pass a city budget that builds on the success of the past, addresses the needs of today, and prepares us for the opportunities of tomorrow.”
The full budget, videos and graphics are available at louisvilleky.gov