Mayor reveals proposed Louisville Metro budget

Mayor reveals proposed Louisville Metro budget
Mayor Greg Fischer revealed his 2018-2019 Metro Budget plan on Thursday.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer unveiled his proposal for the 2018-2019 metro budget in an address on Thursday.

Fischer said he's hoping to amplify the city's economic momentum - which includes 72,000 new jobs and $13 billion worth of capital investments since 2014 - but faces significant challenges.

Those include pension costs that he projects will make a $9.4 million dent in the $623 million general fund budget. Fischer notes another $9.6 million related to increased healthcare costs will have to be taken into account.

To manage those financial hits, Fischer said 49 positions would be eliminated through attrition.

In response, Metro Council leaders said they were relieved to see pension issues in Frankfort didn't affect the city budget as much as they had anticipated they might.

City officials said those will be spread through different departments. They gave an example of longer wait times at some city services as to how the job losses may be felt.

The proposal also marked a record $800 million investment in West Louisville, including private development efforts in the Russell neighborhood and money put toward the Heritage West track and Field Facility.

Sheri Bryant Hamilton, a Metro Council representative for District 5, said she was excited to see a balanced budget that included more funds for projects in the area.

"The infrastructure repairs that are going on and public safety," Hamilton said. "I think there's something for everyone to be happy about."

Fischer expressed concern over this week's officer involved shooting at the address. His budget included a 55 percent increase in public safety funding, including money for 145 police recruits and $7 million in first responder vehicles and equipment.

"Shootings are down 20 percent, homicides are down 19 percent," Fischer said. "We will keep working this plan. That's what we can guarantee and always seek new ideas to improve all these results."

The mayor's communication team said $26 million in new revenues will be generated with the proposed budget. Budget documents show the amount in the general fund has gone up year-over-year over the past two fiscal years.

Other highlights include:

  • $2.2 million in park upgrades and repairs
  • $6 million new animal shelter on Newburg Road
  • SummerWorks funding
  • $2 million in funding for the Office for Safe & Healthy neighborhoods to fund programs including Cure Violence
  • $22.5 million dedicated to road paving, sidewalk repairs and bike lanes
  • Increased funding for the Living Room Project to fight opioid abuse
  • An additional $12 million toward affordable housing

Three public hearings will be held in May for people to address specific budget issues. Metro council will have to approve the 2018-2019 budget before the end of June.

No tax increases were included in the mayor's proposal.

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