Mayor Fischer working with Metro Council on funding to immediately address pressing community needs
Mayor Fischer today proposed a $5.2 million mid-year spending adjustment to immediately address pressing needs in the community, including equity, public safety, homeless assistance, and youth outreach efforts.
The proposal, developed in conjunction with Metro Council members, will be considered at a Special Budget Committee at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 8), with an anticipated full Council vote on Thursday, Dec. 10, in an effort to make the funding available immediately.
The funding is encompassed in two ordinances sponsored by President David James and Council Members Keisha Dorsey, Bill Hollander, Barbara Sexton Smith and Markus Winkler: a $3.5 million operating amendment and a capital amendment for $1.7 million.
The $3.5 million is part of the $26 million carried forward from FY20 into FY21 for pandemic response and community needs.
The proposed funding would provide:
- $1,000,000 for the city’s Clean Collaborative effort, including funds to increase Public Works’ staffing for community clean-ups, street sweeping and graffiti removal, and funding to expand the Downtown Louisville Partnership’s cleanup work.
- $600,000 for the Office of Resilience & Community Services to establish a mobile response team to address issues related to homelessness, and another $250,000 to address areas of need in homeless assistance efforts, as identified by a Louisville Metro Government gap analysis.
- $750,000 to assist with Kentucky Science Center operations due to decreased attendance caused by the pandemic.
- $583,700 for Codes & Regulations to increase vacant lot mowing and graffiti removal.
- $350,000 for the Office for Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods to hire youth outreach specialists and to fund the Group Violence Initiative (GVI), in partnership with the US Attorney’s Office – in an effort to address the racial disparities and inequitable impact of violence in our community.
Also on Thursday, the Council is expected to approve another $10 million of the $26.5 million funding to be used for utility assistance – leaving $12.5 million for the city to expend in 2021, addressing public health and human service needs that will continue after the federal CARES funding expires on December 30, 2020.
The $1.7 million for capital would be used to purchase equipment that Public Works and Codes & Regulations will use in the city clean-up efforts, including vacant lot mowing.
“I am very pleased with this partnership with Council to address immediate needs in our community, including help for those struggling with homelessness as the cold weather sets in. The homeless response team is a great step toward our commitment to a more holistic approach in future budgets,” said Mayor Fischer, who added that he’s hopeful “that Congress will soon approve much-needed COVID relief funding to help state and local governments through the global pandemic.”
Council President James said, “I’m glad to work with my colleagues and Mayor Fischer’s administration to address these needs of our community. The homeless response team is a vitally important step toward the broader deflection efforts we want to make in providing the appropriate response to people in need.”
Councilman Hollander, D-9, said, “The ordinance is designed to use a portion of the funds we carried forward from last year to make Louisville safer and cleaner, to assist our neighbors without housing, and to help several Metro departments and facilities cope with pandemic related issues. I am looking forward to a discussion of the specifics at the special Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday."
And Councilwoman Sexton Smith, D-4, said she was especially pleased with the proposed funding for the mobile homeless response team.
“This is a commonsense solution to a complex challenge. We look forward to working with community partners, perhaps including UofL School of Public Health, Seven Counties Services and St. John Center, that are well-equipped to make assessments and provide services to people who are homeless, which we expect will reduce emergency room visits and minimize unnecessary law enforcement interactions.”