Metro Council approves $849 million budget focused on road repairs and public safety

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Council approved a $849 million budget Thursday night focused on road repairs, public safety and affordable housing.

Twenty-four council members voted in favor of the budget, while one abstained, and one was absent.

One of the biggest changes to the budget in final stretch was the amount of money for road repairs. The budget allocates more than $22 million, the most in the city's history and about $6 million more than Mayor Greg Fischer asked for.

It also increases funding for the Louisville Metro Housing Trust Fund from $2.5 million to $10 million.

Fischer released a statement Thursday night after the vote:

“This budget’s resources are devoted heavily to public safety while continuing the city’s momentum with investments in affordable housing, neighborhoods, parks, a new Northeast Regional Library, and infrastructure like paving, sidewalks and laying fiber for internet broadband. I appreciate the Metro Council's collaboration and especially thank budget chair Marianne Butler and the budget committee for their diligence and dedication during these past two months. This budget balances the city's many needs in a responsible manner.”

Among other items in the budget, LMPD will 16 more officer positions on top of those already approved. Metro council changed Fischer's request to budget $1.8 million to lease a headquarters for LMPD because of major concerns about the health and safety of the building.

Instead, the final budget will allocate $300,000 to research solutions.

How to reduce crime was a major topic of debate before the vote was held.

"Putting more police officers on the street is not going to solve our crime problem," said District 15 Metro Council member Marianne Butler. "It's a community issue. It is a community-wide issue. We need to find all of these community initiatives out there that are helping us."

The coroner's office will also get funding to hire two more deputies to help the department deal with the opioid epidemic and the increase in homicides.

The budget goes into effect July 1.

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