Mayor Fischer presents a $1.3 billion FY22-23 budget focused on “planting seeds for future progress”

April 28, 2022

Mayor Greg Fischer presented his 12th – and final – annual budget address to Metro Council today, 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.

“We’ve laid the groundwork,” he said, adding that the $1.3 billion budget for FY22-23 that he presented today “plants seeds for future progress.”

See more, including Mayor Fischer's full remarks, at louisvilleky.gov/budget

The overall 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.

Among the highlights:

  • $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.

Today’s budget address follows this week’s announcement of $87.4 million in ARP funding for projects that range from new libraries and investments in early learning, to parks, pools, and public health.

The Mayor noted in his remarks today that at the start of his first term in 2011, because of a historic recession, the city faced a $22.5 million deficit, 10 percent unemployment and tremendous anxiety about the future. And, a year and a half after being re-elected to his third term, “we experienced a tragic, once-in-a-century pandemic and righteous calls for social justice throughout the country, including Louisville, a movement we had not seen in fifty years.”

“Between those two seminal challenges, we have reshaped our municipal government, pruning and planting along the way, to reflect 21st century realities and to plan for next steps of our future … for all areas of Louisville,” he said, while also logging significant wins for the community.

Those include:

  • More than $21 billion in capital investments, including new libraries in south and east Louisville, the comeback of Colonial Gardens, Slugger Field, and historic investments in west Louisville such as a revitalized Beecher Terrace, Louisville Urban League’s Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center, and the westward expansion of Waterfront Park.
  • 20,000 people moving out of poverty, and 20,000 families moving into the middle class.
  • More than $475 million invested in affordable housing, homelessness and mitigation efforts for the city’s housing insecure residents.
  • 80,000 new jobs and 3,500 new companies.
  • Two new Ohio River bridges, with 32 million vehicle crossings last year. “Their very existence, after 40 years of no discussion is emblematic of our progress,” the Mayor said. And the Big Four walking bridge, “which has become a great source of recreation, and probably the most culturally diverse gathering spot in our increasingly global city.”
  • Making Louisville a soccer city, with world-class women’s and men’s teams, an extraordinary soccer stadium, training facility and youth academy.
  • Creating and scaling a new hospitality concept – Bourbonism – with Louisville as the trailhead, resulting in 10 new distillery and bourbon experiences, myriad culinary additions, an energized Whiskey Row and 15 new hotels in downtown alone.
  • Reshaping and modernizing Metro Government to meet 21st Century challenges and seize on 21st Century opportunities. That includes creating an Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, an Office of Equity, Louisville Forward, an Office of Sustainability, an Office for Performance Improvement and Innovation, an Office for Globalization, and One Water, which has helped keep consumer rates lower and is working to regionalize water and sewer services.

And the economic wins continue, the Mayor said, noting that this fiscal year alone, Louisville Forward competed for and won 43 business attraction and expansion projects, with a financial commitment of more than $1 billion and over 4,300 jobs. That’s due in large part, he said, to an economic development focus designed to grow and withstand downturns. And looking ahead, he said, the city’s Logistics sector will continue to grow with increasing online activities; Aging and Wellness will grow with an older America; Advanced Manufacturing will grow fueled by spinoffs from the recently announced electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant; and food and beverage businesses will continue to surge with Bourbonism.

“This budget proposal will continue our momentum,” the Mayor 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.”

Public safety

“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.

Other allocations:

  • 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.
  • $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.
  • 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.

Lifelong Learning

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.

The Mayor is also proposing:

  • $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.

Public health

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.”

The Mayor thanked Metro Council for their partnership in this budget and those before it and proposed restoring funding for the Council’s NDF and office accounts, bringing them, to $75,000 and $30,000 respectively, while they maintain their $100,000 capital infrastructure funds per district. “We know council members have their ears to the ground, and can target those funds for critical neighborhood-level needs,” he said.

He thanked his team for their hard work, creativity, and fiscal responsibility – with a special shout out to the city’s first responders. “We have boosted pay to increase retention and to encourage recruitment, we have made and continue to make tech investments to support our employees’ missions at work, and we have enacted parental leave to give them the support they need to be there for their families. This budget continues those investments in our non-union employees with a two percent cost-of-living increase.”

He also thanked President Joe Biden and his administration, noting that the federal CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan “literally saved lives and households during the worst of COVID-19, and the investments made will be felt for years.” He added, “And we in Louisville were thankful for our Congressman John Yarmuth, chair of the Budget committee in Congress, whose great career in government is capped with this achievement.”

The Mayor said the city is also planning ahead for potential projects made possible by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. His budget recommends $1.5 million for additional resources to prepare for the anticipated projects and setting aside $30 million for projects that may require a match from local government. “This money is a contingency fund and will only be spent IF we are selected for the competitive grants,” he said.

In closing, Mayor Fischer reflected on his first budget address, where he acknowledged the “harsh, post-recession truths” but also said “that if we took necessary steps, we could ‘become what we all know we can be: one of the most vibrant, one of the most entrepreneurial and one of the most compassionate cities in the world.’”

“We have traveled far in that journey together,” he said today. “And I truly believe Louisville, from corner to corner, neighborhood to neighborhood … has become one of the most vibrant, one of the most entrepreneurial and one of the most compassionate cities in America. I see it every day – in old and young, in you and in my team, in businesses and schools. And this budget keeps that going.”

See budget details at www.louisvilleky.gov/budget

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