Butler says she won't resign as Council budget chair - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Butler says she won't resign as Council budget chair

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Metro Council member Marianne Butler said she won’t resign her post as budget chair and accused council Republicans of misleading claims over spending on capital projects in Mayor Greg Fischer’s budget proposal.

Republican caucus chairman Kevin Kramer asked Butler to step down from her budget position this week, claiming that she denied receiving a list of the minority caucus’ project ideas and “failed to convey our priorities” to Mayor Greg Fischer.

And the minority caucus’ analysis of Fischer’s plan claims there are no projects for roughly 300,000 residents of Metro Louisville – in largely Republican, eastern districts.

Butler, a Democrat, said in an interview that the Republicans are including the federal Community Development Block Grant monies in their interpretation. The CDBG program is largely geared toward urban neighborhoods and thus has spending limitations.

“They’re taking these CDBG projects and trying to act like they’re general fund-dollar projects that, even if that money was available, it couldn’t be used in many of their areas,” Butler said.

But Steve Haag, spokesman for the Republican caucus, said the “vast amount” of the projects in Fischer’s budget aren’t funded by CDBG.

Fischer unveiled a $63.7 million capital projects budget last month. Butler said there are $15 million in CDBG-related projects in it; a WDRB.com review of the mayor’s budget proposal shows $4.4 million in CDBG projects.

Chris Poynter, a Fischer spokesman, said once federal funds are removed, the budget plan includes $30 million in projects -- $25 million of which include public safety and other community-wide improvements.

“That benefits everyone no matter where you live,” he said.

The budget also calls for $2 million for projects left to the council’s discretion, and $100,000 to each of the council’s 26 districts for paving.

At issue is whether Butler submitted the Republicans’ wish list of capital projects to Fischer in time for consideration in the budget. The caucus provided emails on Tuesday that purportedly show that Republicans responded to Butler’s request for project ideas three days before a May 4 deadline.

“Councilwoman Butler initially denied receiving this list, then denied that the request was received on time, and finally denied that the list was intended for the administration,” Kramer wrote.

Butler said she didn’t forward any project recommendations to Fischer’s office because plans to do a large bond issue didn’t materialize.  

In a statement Tuesday, council president Jim King said he and Butler “are committed to addressing any concerns shared by our colleagues about capital projects.”

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