LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Metro Council Budget Committee reviewed more budget proposals Monday.

Mayor Greg Fischer proposed funding of just over $9.1 million for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office. That is about $500,000 more than the department’s budget last year, and leaders with the County Attorney’s Office said much of the increase will be dedicated to higher pension and health insurance costs along with computer software.

There were dozens of attorneys and prosecutors working for the department in the Metro Council Chambers audience Monday. They represented many of the services where the department added manpower and increased workload.

According to department data, the civil division handled 278 cases in 2017 and collected over $11 million in delinquent taxes. Department leaders said the criminal division totaled more than 80,000 cases last year.

One of the areas the County Attorney’s Office expanded services last year was in arraignment court. With Metro Council funding for last year’s fiscal budget, the office added an extra prosecutor specifically for arraignment court to help address jail overcrowding and low-level, non-violent offenders.

According to department data, from August 2017 through May 2018, the new arraignment deal helped 900 defendants. Leaders estimate this saved the jail over 1,200 days of incarcerating inmates, which in turn saved the city money.

This is a service the County Attorney’s Office hopes to expand with funding for next year. Leaders would hope to release more low-level offenders on their own recognizance and refer more potential inmates to the Living Room Project instead of jail.

“We would not be able to do the excellent work we do to try and protect victims in our community, hold offenders accountable and try to keep people safe if it weren’t for the funding from you guys,” said Susan Ely, the Criminal Division Director with the department.

The full Metro Council will make a decision about budget proposals by June 26.

Budget committee members also heard from leaders with the Louisville Zoo, the Coroner’s Office, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS and Animal Services on Monday. To review their budget proposals or watch their presentations to the Metro Budget Committee, see below:

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