Metro Council approves Ordinance calling for Equity in all Metro Government Department Budgets

February 12, 2021

Louisville – In a unanimous vote, the Louisville Metro Council has passed an Ordinance requiring all departments of Metro Government to map out their equity goals in order to measure the success of the services and programs they provide.

          “In economics, equity is defined as the monetary value of assets minus debt. There is something harmonious in fusing social equity into our budget process. Equity in this manner is justice,” said Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey (D-3) the primary sponsor of the ordinance. “The articulation and subsequent prioritization is our strongest weapon against bias and favoritism. One goal of this ordinance is to rekindle the public’s trust the government through the budgeting process. This is a process in which we all as Louisvillians contributable. The process now requires transparency into the exact and specific intentions of those who we the people as citizens trust to manage and oversee the dollars we invest in the process.”

          “From slavery to segregation to ongoing discrimination, our government has played a key role in racial injustice for centuries and still plays an ongoing role. We stop this at the local level now. Louisville has been talking about racial progress for a hundred years and we've been talking about 'racial equity' since I've been in high school,” says Councilman Jecorey Arthur (D-4). “This ordinance means we are finally putting our money where our mouth is. Dr. Ricky Jones said it best — 2020 was the year of talking. 2021 is the year of walking.”

The Equity Ordinance follows three basic guidelines set out to achieve Equity through the budgeting process:


  1. All departments must identify and articulate an equity vision.
  2. All departments must state their equity goals using the S.M.A.R.T. framework
  3. All departments must list their key performance indicators.


Starting in the 2021-2022 budget year, goals and KPI’s must be accompanied by a dollar among. Councilwoman Dorsey also included components to account for change management and accountability for non-attainment.

“GLI applauds Metro Council for furthering its commitment to promote racial equity by passing an ordinance to require equity reviews and reporting in budgets created by city departments. This is an important step in creating a more equitable community by ensuring city dollars are used to support all communities and populations. GLI supports measures to assess the impact of public policy on race and equity. We will continue working closely with Metro Council to ensure local policy promotes equity and inclusion.,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom President and CEO, Greater Louisville Inc.

“Advancing racial equity has been a major focus of our work at Metro Government for the past decade. We worked with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity to develop a Racial Equity Toolkit, analyzing how Louisville Metro Government operations impact people of color, and devise steps we can take to ensure that impact is positive. We created the position of Chief Equity Officer within my leadership team. Last year, at my request, our Center for Health Equity completed a high-level review of the FY20 budget reductions and made recommendations to guide future budget decisions. And most recently, I signed an Executive Order declaring racism as a public health crisis and outlined an Advancing Racial Equity plan as a roadmap to change. The measure approved by Council tonight, championed by Councilwoman Dorsey, is another important part of the intentional work we must do, as the ordinance says, ‘to shift Louisville further toward an equitable future.’ Equity in budgeting is key to a more equitable distribution of resources, ensuring opportunities for all Louisvillians to achieve their full potential. Thank you, Councilwoman Dorsey, for your unwavering commitment to this mission,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.




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