Metro Council overwhelmingly approves budget

Louisville, KY - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – By a vote of 24 to 1, the Louisville Metro Council approved the new budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year during its meeting on June 24. Now, the revised budget goes to Mayor Jerry Abramson for his signature.

"This budget started with huge challenges because of the recession and because of many factors," said Councilman Jim King (D-District 10), the budget committee chairman.

Over the past several weeks, the committee ironed out the mayor's proposed budget. The budget approved by the Metro Council adds to the mayor's plan. It promises things like no tax increases, continues basic services in the Metro, gives more than half of the money to police and public protection, sets aside about $12 million for street, sidewalk, and other transportation needs.

In addition, King said he expects about $7.5 million more in revenue, but the committee cut out about $1.5 million in potential dollars by rejecting Chief Robert White's plan to tax security systems for homes and businesses.

"We're budgeting a surplus for the first time ever. We didn't just spend everything we could find," said Councilman Kelly Downard, (R-District 16).

"We looked under every rock to find every revenue source that we could. I think we've achieved our goals," King told the Metro Council.

According to the breakdown, the budget will be divided for several projects including restoring the zoo's train, the Buechel Streetscape project, and four JCPS playgrounds.

"I think it was a very evenly fair minded budget that we all worked well together on," said Councilwoman Vicki Welch (D-District 13).

The budget also supports non-profit organizations. Several members of the Metro Council voiced their support for the revised budget, because it gave more funding to external agencies, which includes non-profit organizations.

"I look at the external agencies throughout this city as the arm that does work for us that we probably couldn't do -couldn't do as well -and couldn't do as cheaply," Downard said.

One non-profit which is benefiting by the revised budget is Down Syndrome of Louisville. The organization will get about $400,000, which it will use toward a new headquarters facility.

"We know with the new facility we're going to be able to serve that many more individuals with Down Syndrome and the families," said attorney Mark Leach.

King said there may also be nearly $3 million in additional dollars, but it's not being spent just yet. That money will be used if necessary.

Mayor Abramson has to sign the Metro Council's approved budget before July 1.

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