Louisville Metro Council passes 2019 budget
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Council overwhelmingly approved a budget Tuesday night for next year, but some say it falls short of addressing what's needed.
The council approved the 2018-2019 Operating Budget for Metro Government by a vote of 21-3. The Capital Budget for 2019 was approved by the council by a vote of 20-4.
The budget includes more than $623 million in spending. The majority of that budget, about 55 percent, will go to public safety.
$2 million will go to the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.
Councilman Bill Hollander asked for an amendment requiring the office to file reports four times a year, or risk losing its funding. He said the oversight was needed because this year's budget more than doubled funding.
Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin wanted more money for the Dare to Care food program, and was concerned the budget provides more funding for bike lanes.
The budget funds the new Northeast Regional Library, provides money for 90 new police cars, and increases funding to fight graffiti.
It also includes money to move some LMPD units out of the deteriorating LMPD Headquarters.
Hollander says increased, required contributions to the pension system and rising insurance rates made this year's budget very tough.
"We came into the budget knowing essentially all of our new revenue was already spoken for so I think given that we did the best job we could with what we had," Hollander said.
Metro Council President David James said the council made some changes after the response from the community over the initial budget they received.
"I think some of the strengths of it are the budget that we originally received had cuts to the library and the citizens all over the county were very upset about that, and so we worked really hard to find the money to restore the library funding," James said.
Councilwoman Angela Leet, however, said she thinks the budget came up short.
"This year we feel a little bit short. I think I made a very strong stand at the end of last year in regards to the LMPD Headquarters," Leet said. "I even compromised on the resolution at the end of that year, and yet I found ourselves in this year's budget without that adequately being addressed."
The city will also spend $12 million on affordable housing.
Mayor Greg Fischer issued the following statement, praising Metro Council for passing the budget:
"Despite the challenges of rising pension and healthcare costs, this budget maintains our focus on key priorities, including public safety, violence prevention, affordable housing and jobs. Investments in parks, paving and street improvements, a new Northeast Regional Library, and a new animal shelter further enhance our city’s momentum, and advance our goal of ensuring that every citizen has the opportunity to reach their full human potential. I appreciate the Metro Council’s collaboration on this budget, with special thanks to Budget Committee Chair Bill Hollander, Vice Chair Kevin Kramer and President David James for their leadership. This budget moves us forward as one city with one shared future"
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