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Louisville Metro Council Readies For Thursday's Budget Vote

city hall
J. Tyler Franklin
Louisville City Hall

The Louisville Metro Council will finalize the city's budget later this week.

Mayor Greg Fischer presented his proposed $822 million spending plan to the 26-member council late last month. Since then, the council's budget committee has examined Fischer's plan and heard from city department leaders and community activists about funding needs and desires.

Tony Hyatt, spokesman for the council's majority Democratic caucus, said there isn't much contention regarding Fischer's plan.

"I don’t think you’re going to see anything really different from what the mayor has already proposed," he said.

Fischer wants to invest heavily in public safety. One of his top goals is to reduce crime across the city by 3 percent. In recent months, however, crime has spiked.

Violent crime — notably shootings and homicides — are surging this year, according to police data. Police are reporting nearly 40 percent more shootings than last year, which ended with the most homicides in nearly four decades.

Property crime is also up compared with previous years.

In response, Fischer is seeking to boost the city’s police force by about 40 officers. He’s also looking to spend about $640,000 on overtime for police, and he’s seeking approval to invest $300,000 for more cameras across the city.

Other public safety investments include a $12 million allocation for new police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, snow plows and garbage trucks. He's also seeking a $23 million allotment for infrastructure repair.

Hyatt said it's possible the council will boost that allocation. The city's public works department said Louisville Metro faces a nearly $112 million road-paving deficit.

Some council members are concerned the mayor's proposal falls short of addressing that deficit because the entirety of the allocation is not specifically earmarked for roadway repair.

“To get to a number where we can start to chip away on our road situation, we need to be at $23 million for road paving,” said Councilwoman Angela Leet, a Republican representing District 7.

The council is expected to finalize the budget Thursday evening.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.