Budget Committee approves 2020-2021 Capital and Operating Budgets

June 22, 2020

Louisville – In a unanimous vote, the Louisville Metro Council’s Budget Committee approved the 2020-2021 Capital and Operating Budgets for the coming fiscal year.

On April 23, Mayor Fischer presented a “continuation” budget to the Metro Council. Utilizing Louisville’s improved revenue forecast, the Metro Council’s amended budget expands investments in Louisville’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods and supports meaningful police reform, the first steps in building a stronger, safer city for every citizen.

Investment in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

Housing. The recently released “Path Forward for Louisville” makes clear that reinvesting and recycling abandoned properties and creating a pathway to Black ownership is critical. The amended budget adds more than $9 million to tackle this issue head on, with:

  • $5 million in additional funding for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund (LAHTF) and its partners to address vacant and abandoned properties through the creation of direct purchase or lease-to-purchase opportunities. The budget ordinance includes incentives for contractors who offer new employment, training, and sub-contracting opportunities to low- and very low-income residents of the areas where the projects are located, and businesses that substantially employ these persons. This funding is in addition to the $5 million LAHTF allocation in the recommended budget, for a total of $10 million for affordable housing.
  • $2.5 million for programs that support home repair, address vacant and abandoned properties, and increase home ownership. The programs provide grant funds to homeowners unable to obtain financing for repairs, build and rehab properties in the Landbank, and fund foreclosure, demolition, clear-boarding, and other activities.
  • $1 million is allocated for a new Homeowner and Rental Repair Loan Fund to support improvement of residences. Low property values caused by decades of redlining and disinvestment mean many Louisvillians, especially those in West Louisville, cannot get financing to improve their residences. Leveraging private investments from banks, this funding is designed to create a $10 million fund.
  • $413,400 will put a Metro Public Works crew into neighborhoods, and particularly alleys, to clean areas which have a high level of illegal dumping.
  • $170,000 to hire two additional Code Enforcement Officers working with Develop Louisville to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Eviction Prevention. The amended budget approves a fund of up to $21.2 million, supported by the federal CARES Act, for rent assistance needed to prevent evictions as a result of coronavirus-related financial issues. The program is designed to assist low-income Louisvillians, at or below 60 percent of the area median income.

Small Business Assistance. The amended budget approves a fund of up to $21.2 million, supported by the federal CARES Act, for small business assistance needed as a result of coronavirus-related financial issues. At least 50 percent of this money, up to $10.6 million, is reserved for use in low- and moderate-income census tracts – which includes West Louisville neighborhoods. 

Health and Food Security. As grocery stores have closed, far too many Louisvillians live in food deserts. After years of talk, the amended budget takes action with $3.5 million to help build and support a community grocery. The Department of Health and Wellness and its Center for Health Equity, to which the $3.5 million is directed, will also produce a new health equity report, using $100,000 in the amended budget.

Disconnected Youth and Young Adults.  $1 million is appropriated for youth and young adult programs, to be approved by Metro Council. 

Law Enforcement Reform

Civilian Oversight. As the community shapes a civilian oversight system for the Louisville Metro Police Department, which the Metro Council will likely consider in August, the amended budget provides $763,500 in funding for a civilian oversight system.

Depending on the final structure approved by the Metro Council, this funding could support both a civilian board and a civilian Office of Inspector General, which would lead independent investigations of LMPD cases, as well as patterns and practices. To ensure independence from LMPD, funding for this system is appropriated to the Criminal Justice Commission.

Deflection, Diversity Recruitment and Training. The revised budget redirects $1.2 million in state LMPD funds for exploration and implementation in deflection, a practice that moves individuals away from the criminal justice system in a behavioral health guided model, along with co-responder approaches which place behavioral health specialists with police to offer case management connections to treatment, housing, and services. Additionally, funds will be directed to recruitment efforts for a police force which more closely looks like and lives in the community; and training, including use of force, de-escalation, and implicit bias. It encourages Mayor Fischer and LMPD to redirect $1.6 million in federal funds for the same purposes, for a total of $2.8 million, and requires a public, detailed list of all those expenditures.

Other Budget Changes

Infrastructure. To continue the 10-year paving plan for all Louisville Metro-maintained roads, the amended budget increases the paving budget by $14.3 million, and includes $700,000 for a study of all Louisville Metro road conditions. The sidewalk repair budget is increased by $500,000 and additional funds are appropriated for facilities, parks and library maintenance and repairs.

Belle of Louisville. The amended budget provides $700,000 for a required dry-dock inspection and repair and $500,000 in operating funds for the Belle of Louisville.

Middletown Library. The amendment provides $500,000 to outfit the Middletown Library, at a location provided at no cost to Louisville Metro by the City of Middletown.

Since the Budget has been approved by the committee, it moves on to the Metro Council for a final vote on Thursday night.