Louisville – By a vote 21 to 3, the Louisville Metro Council has approved the Fiscal Year 2018- 2019 Operating Budget for Metro Government. By a vote of 20 to 4, the Council gave its approval to the Capital Budget for the coming year.
“The approved budget continues to heavily fund public safety and infrastructure, including paving and sidewalks. It increases funding for the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, which is helping to reduce crime in ways proven to work around the country. It maintains historically high funding for affordable housing. The Council has increased appropriations to the Library, to the Living Room project, which diverts people from the jail and emergency rooms, and to Dare to Care and New Roots, to address Louisville’s food insecurity issues. The budget also funds personnel and equipment to double the City’s graffiti abatement program,” says Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9) chair of the Budget Committee. “Budgets require compromise – and the results aren’t exactly what anyone wants. I thank the scores of people who appeared before Council to express their opinions on spending priorities, and Council members and staff who worked hard over the last two months to produce a budget that will continue to move Louisville forward.”
“This budget addresses many of the concerns that I and many of my colleagues had expressed regarding the Mayor’s proposed budget. Our amendments increased oversight and accountability in areas where additional scrutiny is needed and continues to push for a much needed new police headquarters and government building that will better help us serve the community” said Councilman Kevin Kramer (District 11), Vice Chair of the Budget Committee. “There were many areas of change that I would have liked to have seen incorporated into the final proposal, but I do believe that the budget that was passed tonight does continue to move our community forward.”
Aside from maintaining the operations and needs of Louisville Metro Government, the budget also highlights the following areas:
- Preserves jobs at the Main Library and funds full staffing at the new Northeast Regional Library and the expansion of the St. Matthews Library. Requires Budget Committee approval of proposed renovations to the Main Library, including any changes to space utilization, staffing and services. ($265,000 increase in proposed budget to LFPL).
- Focuses on food insecurity issues by doubling proposed funding to Dare to Care for general operations to a total of $200,000, and more than tripling proposed funding to New Roots to $70,000 (an increase of $100,000 for Dare to Care and $50,000 to New Roots).
- Funds the Living Room program, diverting individuals from the jail and emergency rooms, at $1,000,000 and requires monthly reporting by Centerstone on usage and outcomes. ($350,000 increase in proposed budget).
- Doubles Metro’s graffiti abatement program run by Codes and Regulation, providing for additional vehicles and personnel to operate them, beginning in February 2019.
- Increases funding for the development of the new YMCA at 18th & Broadway by $50,000, bringing the total to $300,000.
- Provides additional funding for Parks: $200,000 for Phase III of Charlie Vettiner Park; $75,000 to be matched by the Louisville Parks Foundation for soccer fields at William Harrison and Wyandotte Parks; and $50,000 for Quail Chase Golf Course.
- Increases funding for Waterfront Development Corporation by $50,000, bringing Metro’s contribution to Waterfront Park to $1,037,000, to address an operating deficit and to provide for increased restroom cleaning in the park.
- Allocates $1,000,000 for improvements at the Impound Lot (a reduction of $1,000,000 in the proposed amount due to timing issues on the need for the funds).
- Maintains other recommended funding for paving, sidewalk repair and construction, LMPD, the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, Heritage West, Parks, the Zoo and other projects and services.
- Funds increased pension and healthcare costs, with no layoffs of Metro employees and no increase in taxes.
The following Metro Council members have released the following statements on passage of the budgets:
“I want to thank the members of the Budget Committee for their hard work and dedication. For two years now we have approached the budget process by thoroughly reviewing the needs of agencies and the services they provide our citizens and how we can make government more efficient. This budget continues our top priority of public safety. It increases no taxes and provides needed funding for taking care of the people of Metro Louisville.”
President David James, District 6
“This budget continues to address many needs that are geared to making our streets safer, fighting jail overcrowding and continuing to offer affordable housing and other opportunities to those in need. I am especially pleased to see that we are continuing the moment of revitalizing West Louisville through Heritage West. We have accomplished this by thoughtful planning while being mindful of limited tax dollars and other resources. I want to thank my colleagues for approving this realistic budget that continues our progress in so many needed areas.”
Cheri Bryant Hamilton, Majority Leader, District 5
“I greatly appreciate the leadership provided by our Budget Committee Co-Chairs and the diligence with which my fellow Council Members debated this budget. We are attacking crime and putting safety first by fully funding LMPD and other crime prevention programs. In every action approved we have increased the quality of life for many people in Louisville by enhancing services in our neighborhoods. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is fully funded for the second year in a row. We substantially increased funding to Dare To Care and New Roots so more families will have access to affordable, healthful food. We provided $1 million to Centerstone for the Living Room Model so services for those suffering from mental illness and addiction can quickly receive the help they need. All this and more was achieved without cutting jobs! Many thanks to everyone throughout Jefferson County who shared your requests. Together, we create a great connected community for ALL!”
Barbara Sexton Smith, Vice Chair Democratic Caucus District 4
“I have been on the Budget Committee since the inception of a Budget Committee on this Metro Council. This is my last Budget and after some tweaking, I believe we approved a good budget. I am especially happy to know that that the Affordable Trust Fund was fully funded. Also the Living was funded at 1 million dollars. I was glad to know that Heritage West was funded at $10 million dollars as well as additional funding for libraries.”
Mary C. Woolridge, District 3