Thursday February 21, 2019
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Members of the Metro Council’s Budget Committee will be updated on progress being made to create low barrier shelters and other programs for the homeless on Thursday, January 31st.

“This is the first meeting of the 2019 Budget Committee and the first time the full Committee will be updated on progress in delivering more services to our homeless neighbors,” says Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9), who chairs the committee.

There will be a special discussion with Eric Friedlander, Louisville Metro Resilience and Community Services and Natalie Harris, Coalition for the Homeless. The discussion will include updates on the use of the surplus funds allocated by the Metro Council for homeless services in December 2018. The creation of low barrier shelters and storage facilities are key parts of the effort to help the homeless this winter.

The Budget Committee will meet at 4:30pm in Council Chambers, Historic City Hall, 601 West Jefferson Street. The meeting is carried live on Metro TV, Spectrum Cable Channel 184 or on UVERSE at Channel 99.

All meetings of the Metro Council are streamed live. Go to the Metro Council Home page at www.Louisvilleky.gov/metrocouncil and click on the Metro Council Agendas link.

Mayor Greg Fischer proposed a 2018-2019 city budget that builds on the city’s momentum and commitment to public safety and growing jobs, despite the significant challenges of rising insurance costs and a $9.4 million bump in pension expense.

This $623 million general fund budget — with the theme “One City, One Future”— anticipates $26 million in new revenue, with 55 percent earmarked for public safety: LMPD, the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, the Louisville Fire Department, Corrections, Emergency Services, the Criminal Justice Commission and Youth Detention Services.

“Public safety is our No. 1 priority, as evidenced by this budget and the ones before it,” the Mayor said about his eighth budget presentation, adding that the investments, and the strategy that accompanies them, is returning tangible results.

“In 2017, we saw our numbers on crime overall and violent crime in particular start to decline,” he said. “And while there’s lots of work ahead, I’m glad to say that this positive trend is continuing in 2018.”

The budget also includes investments in affordable housing, paving and workforce development, and funding to complete the Northeast Regional Library. When it opens in 2019, 90 percent of city residents will live within five miles of a full-service library.

In his remarks, the Mayor acknowledged budget challenges, including the serious impact of the state’s pension crisis and a $9.6 million employer health care cost increase. Though the budget avoids layoffs, he said, 49 positions will be eliminated through attrition. “We’ve worked to implement cuts and reductions in a way that‘s fair and minimizes the impact on city services,” the Mayor said.

The Mayor opened his presentation by highlighting Louisville’s economic momentum, evidenced by more than 72,000 new private sector jobs, 2,500 new businesses and nearly $13 billion in capital investment happening throughout the city since 2014, including a record investment of $800 million in west Louisville.

(Read the Recommended Executive Budget for 2018-19)

That progress, along with the revenue growth and smart financial planning, “allows us to continue to invest in ourselves and in key development opportunities,” he said, ranging from the Russell neighborhood transformation, including the planned Track on Ali, as well the Soccer Stadium District in Butchertown and redevelopment of Colonial Gardens in south Louisville.

(Read Mayor Fischer’s full remarks)

The budget maintains a high level of local dollars — $22.5 million — in paving roads, fixing sidewalks and creating bike lanes in the city, which reflects a commitment to the “fix it first” strategy of Move Louisville. And it provides funding to relocate LMPD headquarters, as well as the city’s vehicle impound lot.

In accordance with the city’s recently released plan to address the impact of substance use disorder, the budget increases funding to the Living Room Project, a partnership with Centerstone that helps people struggling with opioids or other substance use get treatment and mental health support instead of going to jail or the emergency room.

“We also have to continue supporting efforts to make sure citizens can meet basic needs, like housing,” the Mayor said, noting that in last three years, the city has invested nearly $30 million in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Louisville Cares, and is continuing that commitment this year by investing another $12 million in affordable housing.

Other budget highlights:

  • Proposes $2 million for the Office for Safe & Healthy neighborhoods to fund restorative justice and violence prevention programs, including Cure Violence
  • Continues commitment to the Russell neighborhood with $750,000 for private development efforts and job creation.
  • Funds SummerWorks, which employed over 5,200 youth in 2017.
  • Buys $7 million in first responder vehicles and equipment, such as police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, computers, defibrillators and other equipment.
  • Provides $6 million to complete a new animal shelter on Newburg Road.
  • Funds $2.2 million in parks upgrades, maintenance needs and repairs including a $500,000 match for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
  • Continues funding of $1 million to gain control of vacant and abandoned properties.
  • Invests $600,000 to plant trees to combat urban heat island, and improve health.

Mayor Fischer cautioned that while he remains optimistic about Louisville’s future, the state pension crisis “will be a drag on our budget for the foreseeable future” without accelerated revenue growth.

“Our economic momentum and our readiness for the future require more substantive and comprehensive revenue-producing tax reform,” he said, stressing that reform must include more local control, so that Louisville’s citizens and leaders can craft and implement strategies that work for the city.

“It would be easy in a challenging budget cycle like this to just focus on the needs of the moment. And certainly we have to address the concerns and opportunities facing our citizens today,” the Mayor said. “At the same time, we have to also keep an eye to the future. That’s been our approach from Day One, and it’s helped us work with our partners across the city to create a growing economy with tremendous potential for our city.”

Five members of the Louisville Metro Council are seeking public comment on the proposed 2017 -2018 Capital and Operating Budgets at a special community meeting on Monday, May 22nd at the Louisville Urban League.

Councilmembers Jessica Green (D-1), Mary C. Woolridge (D-3), Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4), Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5), and David James (D-6) are inviting their constituents to come out and share their thoughts on what should be in the upcoming budget.

“It is important to me that the citizens of District 1 have a voice in this budget process because for far too long, they have felt ignored and left out,” says Green. “I want everyone to have an understanding not only of what the process is, but what is actually in the budget in order to be able to advocate for what citizens in my community want and need.

“Everyone knows there are not unlimited resources so we invite the community to help us set priorities for funding that improves the quality of life of our residents,” says Hamilton.

“We want to reach out to everyone. It is important that we hear from folks in the neighborhoods, homeowners, and business owners.” says Sexton Smith. “We have to rely on the public to give a perspective we may not be aware of when it comes to priorities and we want to make it easier for them to participate and ask questions.”

The Metro Council Budget Committee has already begun its hearings on the budget and will spend the months of May and June reviewing Metro Government needs before a vote on June 22nd.

The Budget public meeting will be held at the Louisville Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

“We need public input into the 2017-2018 Louisville Metro Recommended Budget from the community and I am happy to make the effort to hear from taxpayers. I know it is not always easy to come downtown to City Hall due to parking constraints,” says Woolridge. “I hope everyone will attend this community meeting regarding Mayor Greg Fischer‘s Budget. Tell us what you would like to see in this Budget.”

“Bringing the budget public input process from City Hall to the community to hear what the citizens have to say about the budget is a vital step in this process,” says James. “It’s your money and we need to know how you feel about how we are spending it.”

Councilman Rick Blackwell invites residents to the next District 12 Dialogue on Tuesday, May 16th to learn more about the Metro Council’s Budget Review for the coming fiscal year. MSD also will make a presentation about its 20-year Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan.

“The Council is just beginning its review of the Mayor’s proposed 2017 -2018 Capital and Operating Budgets,” says Blackwell. “The budget review process is one of the most important responsibilities of the Metro Council and it also gives a thorough understanding of how all of the Metro agencies and departments work together.”

Representatives of MSD will also be on hand to give a presentation of their plan to repair and replace important infrastructure over the next two decades.

MSD’s 20-year Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan covers critical risks in six areas:

  1. Ohio River flood protection system
  2. Stormwater drainage and inland flooding
  3. Viaducts
  4. Crumbling sewer infrastructure
  5. Wastewater treatment facilities
  6. Consent decree and support systems

The next District 12 Dialogue will be held at 6:00 pm at the Southwest Government Center Courtroom, 7219 Dixie Highway.

There will also be representatives from LMPD and Codes and Regulations to help constituents address specific concerns or problems.

For more information about the May District 12 Dialogue, contact Councilman Blackwell’s office at 574-1112.

Councilman Bill Hollander invites D9 constituents to participate in a discussion about the upcoming budget. The Metro Council has started the review of the 2017-2018 budget recommended by Mayor Greg Fischer. The proposed budget focuses heavily on public safety, including significant investments in LMPD, while continuing to fund affordable housing, paving and a new Northeast Regional Library.

The May District 9 Community Conversation is set for Wednesday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the Peterson Dumesnil House, 301S. Peterson Avenue.

The $593 million general fund operating budget anticipates $23 million in new revenue, with the greatest chunk of that – $19 million, or 83 percent – earmarked for LMPD and the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, including additional police officers.

The budget proposal was presented one month earlier than usual under an ordinance Hollander sponsored last year.  The ordinance was designed to give the public and Council members more time to evaluate and comment on the budget.

“As with all D9 Community Conversations, discussion of any other subjects is welcome and I will be available to talk with constituents about any questions, comments or concerns,” says Hollander. “So, mark your calendar and bring along a friend or neighbor to let me know what you think.”

For more information about May’s D9 Community Conversation, contact Councilman Hollander’s office at 574-1109.

Councilwoman Marianne Butler (D-15) announces the Metro Council’s Budget Public Hearings are scheduled on May 10th and May 16th offering the public two opportunities to comment on the proposed FY 2017- 2018 Capital and Operating Budgets.

“The Committee encourages the public to attend and participate in the budget process;” says Butler.  “Over the next two months as we review the proposed budget it is very important to have input and dialogue with not only the departments but the public as well.”

The May 10th public hearing begins at 6:30pm.

The May 16th public hearing begins at 6:00pm.

Both hearings are held in the Council Chambers, 601 West Jefferson Street, 3rd floor.

“Over the next two months the Metro Council plans to have nearly 30 hours of hearings with department directors,” says Kramer. “This is the opportunity for the community to engage with their elected representatives to convey which projects they support or ideas they have for making our budget work better for the people we serve.”

Signups for those wishing to address the Budget Committee begin one hour prior to the start of the hearings on the 3rd floor of City Hall.  Speakers are called in order of signup and have up to three minutes to make comments.  Written testimony can be turned in during the meeting and occasionally, speakers are asked questions by the Committee members.

The Committee is limiting one designated speaker for each non-profit group per signup. You do not have to be a member of a nonprofit group to speak. The Committee is interested in hearing from anyone in the community on budgetary issues or priorities for Metro Government in the coming Fiscal Year.

Speakers may use the Sixth Street entrance to Historic City Hall.

If you cannot attend but would like to comment on the budget, simply go to the Metro Council webpage at www.louisvilleky.gov and click on the link for the Metro Council Clerk, then click the Contact Us link.

To see the 2017 to 2018 Budget Hearing Schedule click here!

Mayor Greg Fischer proposed a new city budget that focuses heavily on public safety, including significant investments in LMPD, while continuing the city’s momentum, with investments in affordable housing, paving and a new Northeast Regional Library.

The $593 million general fund operating budget anticipates $23 million in new revenue, with the greatest chunk of that – $19 million, or 83 percent – earmarked for LMPD and the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, including 112 new LMPD recruits.

“Public safety is our top priority,” the Mayor said in remarks today to the Metro Council, adding that his budget is evidence of that:  “This will bring LMPD’s projected average strength to 1,293 the new fiscal year, the largest number of sworn officers serving our citizens since merger.”

Learn more about the budget here

Considering retirements and natural attrition in LMPD, the proposed FY2017-2018 budget will result in 55 net new police department positions since last year’s budget. That includes 44 new officers and 11 other positions, from crime scene technicians to firearms analysts.

The mayor’s budget also includes other public safety investments:

  • Hiring an additional prosecutor in the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to focus on violent criminals;
  • Hiring a new arraignment court prosecutor in the County Attorney’s office to work with low-level, non-violent offenders to get cases resolved efficiently, helping reserve limited bed space at Metro Corrections for the most violent offenders;
  • Hiring 30 firefighters and 60 corrections officers;
  • Spending $4 million on new police cars, ambulances, firetrucks and equipment;
  • Funding to move LMPD headquarters, make repairs to the Louisville Fire Department headquarters in Russell and the city’s aging jail; and to relocate the 911 backup center.

Stressing the need to take a holistic approach “to fighting crime, and preventing crime,” the Mayor said his budget includes an increased investment in the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, and its Cure Violence program, and $200,000 to hire additional staff and support in the city’s Office of Addiction Services.

And recognizing that investments in people and places help make the community safer and keep the city’s economic momentum going, the budget also continues a commitment to workforce housing, with $2.5 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and $12 million to the Louisville CARES revolving loan fund. That’s the highest level of city funding dedicated to affordable housing since merger.

“Investing in affordable housing is investing in our future.  And it is critical to keeping communities safe,” the Mayor said.

Continuing his theme of building on momentum, the Mayor announced that the city, with the help of a state grant, is officially moving forward with construction of the Northeast Regional Library, which will feature 40,000 square feet of space and have a sustainable, eco-friendly and cost-efficient design.

“When this library opens, my administration will have fulfilled our commitment under the Library Master Plan to provide a full-service library within five miles of 90 percent of Louisville residents,” he said.

He also highlighted significant announcements in west Louisville over the last few weeks: the West Louisville YMCA is a go; Passport Health Plan is moving its corporate headquarters to 18th and Broadway; and plans for Waterfront Phase IV are moving forward.

Complementing all that, he said, his budget includes funding to begin the revitalization of Beecher Terrace and Russell. “We’ll use the Choice Neighborhood Grant to leverage more than $200 million in public and private funds to transform Russell into a sustainable, mixed-income community offering citizens of west Louisville quality services and schools, as well as better transportation and job opportunities,” he said.

“Overall, there’s more investment in this part of the city today than we’ve seen in a generation or longer,” he added, “with more to come.”

Other budget highlights:

  • $25 million for paving, street improvements and sidewalk repairs, as part of the city’s Move Louisville plan and fix-it first strategy. In addition, there is $500,000 for bike lanes.
  • $5.4 million to work with Kentucky Wired to lay extra fiber optic cable in the city, an investment that will pay for itself as the city leases the cable to private internet service providers, and will help bring high speed internet fiber to west Louisville, closing the digital divide.
  • $1.7 million for Metro Parks upgrades and maintenance, and funds to continue building the Louisville Loop, implement the Tyler Park master plan, and to build a walking path at Joe Creason Park and a new boat ramp at Shawnee Park.
  • $100,000 each for Dare to Care for its food bank.
  • $100,000 to implement Imagine Greater Louisville, the community’s arts master plan.
  • $600,000 to plant trees.
  • A 2 percent raise for non-union employees. (Union employee salaries are set by their contracts.)

The Mayor noted that, “When you look at this budget as a whole, you’ll see that it’s balanced in more ways than one. This budget balances the need to honor our past commitments with the need to invest in our future.”

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