Fischer’s proposed $986 million budget includes tripling the amount spent on public safety

If approved by the Metro Council, $19,525,400 will be spent on a number of initiatives including strengthening community relationships with police.
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 12:37 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer calls it “Reimagining Public Safety.”

If approved by the Metro Council, $19,525,400 will be spent on a number of initiatives.

Fischer’s proposed $986 million budget for the next fiscal year more than triples the amount of money spent on public safety programs in the previous budget.

“This budget expands the concept of public safety beyond policing,” Fischer said. “So it includes social workers, it includes community mobilization, it includes preventing young people from getting involved with crime in the first place. It includes intervening as well.”

If approved by the Metro Council, $19,525,400 will be spent on a number of initiatives including strengthening community relationships with police, interrupting the city’s deadly violence, new technology and training for police, funding for the new civilian review board and inspector, and programs to get at-risk youths into jobs and out of jail.

”You just want everybody involved, not just police,” Fischer said. “I mean, what it shows in modern-day America is that just putting more money into the police is not a practical strategy, and it’s not working.”

Fischer’s proposed budget does not allocate more money directly to LMPD. The department would continue with the same budget and the same number of officers it has this fiscal year. Fischer said it is not a case of defunding the police.

”The notion of defunding the police is not practical,” Fischer said. “Nobody argues with policing; it’s how it’s done. So this budget expands the concept of public safety beyond policing.”

Fischer’s budget proposal also does not contain the painful cuts that limited spending in the two previous fiscal years. The reasons include higher-than-expected revenue and savings after the receipt of federal COVID relief funds.

”This was the first budget in a long time where we’ve actually had some resources to spend and not just cut, cut, cut,” Fischer said.

The Mayor’s Office described the budget as “bullish ... focused on accelerating the city’s economic recovery with a greater emphasis on equity, reimagining public safety and youth development.”

Fischer revealed his budget plans to members of the Metro Council on Thursday.

Some Metro Council members told media they agreed that a focus on public safety was critical, and said are still looking over the budget.

“We will apply the same rigor and scrutinty to those decisions we made a few year ago when the belt has to be tightened much more than this year,” Councilman Anthony Piagentini said. “And that will put us on a great trajectory so we are looking back 5-10 years from now and we appreciate the decisions and investments we made in this budget.”

Protesters and activists told WAVE 3 News they do not believe the $19.5 million dollars focused on programs to prevent violence is enough.

They said they do not believe the civilian review board and Inspector General solve the issues at hand, specifically between police and the community.

“That review, citizen review board or whatever that’s not going to even affect nothing like this,” Neal Robertson, President of the West Louisville Urban Coalition said. “So what are we doing here? What type of games are we still playing here? We need somebody to come in our city and save our city>”

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