‘Planting the seeds for future progress’
Mayor Greg Fischer presented on April 28, 2022 his 12th – and final – annual budget address to Metro Council, reflecting on how his previous 11 budgets have made the city stronger, more vibrant and prepared to withstand challenges, as well as outlining new investments in priority areas, including public safety, public health, equity and quality of life.
READ MAYOR FISCHER’S PREPARED REMARKS
The Mayor’s overall 2022-23 recommended budget reflects an increase over the $1.1 billion total of the previous year, including $715 million in general fund dollars, an increase of $57 million. And because of significant funding from federal, state, foundations and other sources, the Mayor proposes a capital budget of $343 million, more than doubling the $167 million in FY22. The recommended budget follows the April 26 announcement of $87.4 million in American Rescue Plan funding for projects that range from new libraries and investments in early learning, to parks, pools, and public health, and previous ARP expenditures.
“This budget proposal will continue our momentum,” Mayor Fischer said. “It keeps public safety as priority No. 1. It maintains a responsible eye on expenses. It is dedicated to delivering quality, modern services, through continuous improvement and innovation. And it is done with an equity lens on all our operations and efforts.”
- $10 million for affordable housing, which brings the total investment during the Mayor’s term to $106 million – more than any other administration in the city’s history, as well as $3 million in down payment assistance to help increase homeownership among low to moderate households and $3.4 million to repair and maintain homeownership in low-income areas.
- An additional $3 million matching grant for Evolve502, ensuring that every JCPS student in middle school and older can go to college tuition-free.
- Funding for three LMPD recruit classes as part of a three-year plan to get to 1,200 officers by the end of FY25, including laterals and rehires. The budget also allocates $6 million for the first phase of a new LMPD training facility – land acquisition and design.
- $412,000 to expand hours and programming at community centers, in addition to previously announced plans to spend $8.5 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars, over three years, for the Office for Youth Development to create a data-driven youth development system for 10- to 24-year-olds – because, the Mayor said, “public safety also means giving our kids safe places to be.”
- Investments in the successful Clean Collaborative initiative, as well as five mowing cycles and $22 million to pave roads and repair sidewalks, in addition to $500,000 for scooter and bike lanes.
- And to help provide stability in coming years when American Rescue Plan (ARP) and CARES funds are exhausted, the Mayor proposes $10 million for the city’s Rainy Day Fund and $15 million to cover potential budget shortfalls in future fiscal years.
“With efforts grounded in best practices and community involvement,” the Mayor said, “we are funding law enforcement, violence-interruption programs and initiatives to re-build trust between police and the larger community they serve.”
- In addition to funding for new LMPD recruits and a new training facility, the budget continues funding for Emergency Services to operate the new 911 call prioritization and deflection program, furthering the goal of reducing police responses for situations better served by a social service response.
- $1.4 million for a Louisville Fire Department burn building, used to train firefighters; plus funding for a recruit class that will start in May 2023.
- $3.7 million in capital investments within the Department of Corrections, including an expansion of camera systems, additional monitoring equipment for observations of high-risk inmates, and increasing body scanners at entrances.
- Nearly $11.5 million to complete a $28.9 million state-of the-art computer-aided dispatch and records management system, and $1.25 million toward a new Mobile Emergency Operations Center.
- In addition to Clean Collaborative, the budget invests $880,000 for Community Ambassadors, who work block-by-block in downtown, Waterfront Park, south Louisville, west Louisville and Bardstown Road, answering resident and visitor questions and keeping areas clean.
- And investments to address police reform recommendations from the Hillard Heintze review, and programs such as the Police Activities League, Truth and Transformation and Lean Into Louisville.
In addition to the Evolve502 matching grant, the budget allocates $500,000 for the award-winning Code Louisville initiative, part of the city’s efforts to rapidly scale its tech workforce, and $600,000 to KentuckianaWorks for the Kentucky College Access Center, a one-stop center that helps users file for financial aid, search for schools, explore occupations, complete admissions applications and more.
- The budget also invests $1 million in SummerWorks, the city’s program to provide youth with summer jobs, and make all-important contacts for their future. The Mayor noted that SummerWorks has been a smashing success in its 12 years, placing more than 36,000 kids in jobs with 240 employers.
- $5 million for the Louisville Zoo’s planned Kentucky Trails exhibit, to be matched by $5 million in private donations, on top of a state budget allocation of $10 million. As part of the project, trails will be added on 20 undeveloped acres at the Zoo to create an extensive, interactive, naturalistic experience providing up-close encounters with animals native to this area.
- $4 million for Waterfront Park, also with a match requirement, to boost plans for a $30 million westward expansion between 9th and 15th streets, using local, state and private funds.
- $1.3 million to launch Louisville HeARTS, a unique initiative with the Fund for the Arts, the Louisville Orchestra, Metro Government, and other community partners to bring the healing power of the arts to every neighborhood in the city.
- $200,000 to complete final work at Louisville Metro Animal Services’ new complex on Newburg Road.
Mayor Fischer noted that Louisville is one of the few cities in the country whose Brown and Black residents did not suffer a disproportionate impact from COVID-19, which he credited to “tireless efforts of the team at Public Health and our community partners.”
- His budget includes $24.7 million for Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness, a $3.9 million increase.
- The budget also invests $600,000 to plant new trees and other environmental resiliency efforts, $700,000 for a new Energy Innovation Fund and $6 million for the UofL Envirome Institute Healthy Building Research Complex and Parkscape downtown, which “brings innovation, nature, resilience and people together in a new downtown research center and tourist attraction.”