Metro Council budget hearings resume - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro Council budget hearings resume

Some Metro Council members believe the city is spending too much money on bureaucracy and not enough to meet human needs.

With budget hearings resuming on Tuesday, some Metro Council members say they are frustrated that many non-profit groups are not receiving city funds this year.

They worry that shelters, programs to help sexually-abused children, and weatherize homes are going to have trouble meeting the need this year, in a time of rising need.

Republican Metro Councilman Kelly Downard said on Tuesday, "I think the priorities that we have set in this budget don't fit."  Downard suggested that the city's Housing and Family Services spends a lot of money on programs that don't directly help people.  He and other members are taking a close look at cutting money from some city programs and agencies and giving it to non-profits that work on the front lines assisting people.

Operation Brightside's allocation for staff and overhead came under the microscope.  Director of Neighborhoods Melissa Mershon, when asked for specific numbers, replied, "I'm apologize, I did not bring my operating budget, but I would just say off the top of my head, $300,000."

Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh said, "You know, when we look at what is vital in the context, I just have to tell you, $300,000 for brightening up the community for one year perhaps should be something that we consider in looking for those...dollars."

So the suggestion is that if the city were to fire some employees, the money could be put to better use.  But heads of agencies say it's not that simple.  Operation Brightside, for instance, claims the $300,000 it gets for staff and overhead helps it raise $2 million in private funds each year for beautification projects all over the city.

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