Mayor Fischer unveils new city budget with no new taxes; invests in road paving, body cameras, housing

Louisville, Ky., – Mayor Greg Fischer today unveiled his proposed budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, an $873 million spending plan that does not raise taxes and is designed to  strengthen physical, economical, educational and social connections across Louisville.

In remarks to the Metro Council, the Mayor outlined several large initiatives including:

  • $14.5 million to construct the new South Central Regional Library in Okolona;
  • $13.6 million to pave bumpy roads, repair broken sidewalks and continue building the city’s cycling network, the largest road/sidewalk investment in five years;
  • $12 million for the Louisville CARES initiative to create 1,500 units of affordable housing;
  • $7.8 million to upgrade the city’s 911 radio system, which receives 1.5 million calls annually ;
  • $2.8 million to equip all LMPD officers with body cameras;
  • $1.8 million to help expand Animal House, allowing the city to eventually vacate the flood-prone animal shelter on Manslick Road once private dollars are raised.

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“These investments not only connect our city through better roads and sidewalks, they connect us socially through improved libraries and enhancements to public safety,” Fischer said. “Our citizens must feel connected to the success of our city and know that the city is connected to their success.”

 

The budget — One Louisville: Creating a Connected Community — totals $873 million, which includes federal dollars, grants and donations. The general fund budget is $560 million. Revenue growth for the new fiscal year is projected at 1.8 percent.

Fischer said because of an improved economy and sound financial management the past five years, including eliminating the city’s structural deficit, Louisville Metro Government is able to make targeted investments.

“The job market has recovered – unemployment is down from over 10 percent to 4.9 percent, and we’ve added more than 40,000 new jobs since January 2011,” he said.

 

Other investments in the new budget by category include:

Public Safety

  • $10 million to replace snow plows, police cars, ambulances, fire trucks and other public safety equipment
  • 72 new LMPD recruits to replace retirees
  • Continued funding of the Real Time Crime Center and Downtown Area Patrol

Community improvements/jobs

  • $1.6 million for general repairs and emergency maintenance at Metro Parks
  • $1 million in local dollars, matched with $3.6 million in federal funds, to continue planning and construction of the 100-mile Louisville Loop that will eventually encircle the city.  The money includes funds to help fix the portion of the Loop at Shawnee Park that has been eroded by the Ohio River
  • $400,000 to assist TARC in buying new Zero buses to expand its no-emissions vehicles, leveraging a federal grant 12 to 1
  • $275,000 to plant trees to grow the city’s canopy and create a GPS tree tracking system (the city will announce a much larger tree planting initiative in the fall, when the tree canopy study is final)
  • $50,000 to help launch One West, a community development corporation working to revitalize the neighborhoods West Louisville
  • $100,000 for a public art project

Compassion

  • $1.1 million to assist Community Ministries to help families in need
  • $1.3 million in grants to housing/social service agencies and  $500,000 in grants to arts and cultural non-profits
  • $200,000 for a needle exchange program through the Department of Public Health and Wellness to prevent the spread of disease

Education

  • $800,000 to continue expanded summer hours at community center and enhance out-of-school activities
  • $200,000 for SummerWorks, a public-private partnership to provide teenagers with a summer job, a mentor and a paycheck
  • $125,000 to create an Early Childhood Gallery at the Kentucky Science Center

The budget also adds $450,000 to the “rainy day fund” — bringing its balance to $63.5 million —  and it includes $2.5 million for a capital improvement project at The Kentucky Center in a collaborative effort with the state.

Metro Council will begin its budget hearings Tuesday, June 2 and is schedule to vote on the budget Thursday, June 25.

“With the smart and compassionate investments I have presented today, investments in job creation, lifelong learning, affordable housing, public safety and body cameras, and targeted projects in the East, South and West Louisville, this budget strengthens connections, links Louisvillians, and engages all citizens in our city’s success,” Fischer said. “We are one city.  We are one family.  We are One Louisville.”

The full budget is available at http://louisvilleky.gov/government/management-budget

For details, click here.

For the Mayor’s full budget speech to Metro Council, click here.

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