By a vote of 24 to 1, the Louisville Metro Council has approved the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Operating Budget for Metro Government. In a unanimous vote, the Council has approved the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year Capital Budget for Metro Government.
“Our task was to appropriate available funds in a way which would best serve the public, agree on a budget which would draw the most support on the Council and be signed by the Mayor. The job was much more difficult this year because of our dramatically higher pension costs, which are one part of the budget we cannot reduce. The result is a budget that makes cuts in nearly every department and many services provided to Louisville residents. We have tried to minimize those cuts as much as possible, but they remain very deep”, says Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9), Chair of the Budget Committee. “Unfortunately, the pension costs will rise again next year and for several years after that, so even deeper cuts will be coming unless we find new revenue.”
“I am pleased that despite increasing expenses, the Council was able to come together on a budget that moves the conversation from crisis to correction. In a budget year where our expenses grew more than our revenue, we were forced to look more closely at how we are spending taxpayer dollars. This process allowed us to ask some very difficult questions, examine how some programs were being run, and to prioritize which services and amenities the citizens expect,” said Councilman Kevin Kramer (R-11), Vice Chair of the Budget Committee. “I am proud of the fact that we moved the police recruit class forward and offered additional support to new recruits, we were able to restore funding for 2 pools, restore regular library hours and reopen a library. This budget maintains our plans for addressing the paving needs of our streets, the health needs of our citizens and the maintenance needs of our buildings.”
The recommended budget included a projection that LMPD will have 40 fewer officers at the end of the year than the beginning, due to bringing on fewer recruits to replace officers leaving the force. The Council approved an amendment to the Mayor’s proposed budget which moved one recruit class up one month and includes a new recruit allowance, but those changes will not completely reverse the projected loss of officers.
Louisville Fire Department will lose 15 positions through attrition. The department is still working on a plan to absorb that loss while minimizing the effect on response times for fire and medical calls.
The Louisville Free Public Library, which had the largest percentage cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget, will see money restored to preserve hours at branch libraries and to resume service in Middletown, provided a facility is made available at little or no cost to the library. LFPL will still see some cuts, including closure of the Fern Creek Library and some personnel reductions.
Weekly recycling and seasonal yard waste collection in the Urban Services District is funded in the budget but a wet-dry recycling program in the Central Business District will be eliminated, resulting in less recycling and more items sent to the landfill.
External Agencies are funded at $1.3 Million, a reduction of 28% from the previous year’s budget.
To address food insecurity issues, the budget includes a $200,000 appropriation to Dare to Care.
Youth Detention services is funded through December 31, 2019, when its programs will transition to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as is the case in all other Kentucky counties.
Funding for the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods is reduced by over $1 Million, eliminated three of four Cure Violence sites but retaining to hospital-based violence reduction programs. It provides $110,000 in funding for the Centerstone Crisis and Information Center.
The approved budget increases funding for paving, sidewalk repair and construction, and maintains other recommended funding for Parks, the Zoo, and other projects and services.