Louisville Metro Council to consider budget equity review process
A new Louisville Metro Council proposal would create a budget review process that aims to ensure equitable spending.
As it stands, all local government departments, except Metro Council, are required to submit equity impact statements with their budgets to include:
- Measurable spending goals.
- The impact on neighborhoods of color.
- Mitigate unintended consequences of a plan.
- Provide ways a department will track outcomes.
Democratic District 4 Council Member Jecorey Arthur’s proposal would expand the requirement to include Metro Council. It would also require the Equity and Inclusion Committee to determine if the budget meets fair spending guidelines.
“Once we pass this, we'd be saying we set those goals, we set those priorities, and not necessarily scrutinizing every single appropriation that goes to appropriations and saying, Hey, that's not equitable,” Arthur said during a committee meeting last week.
Arthur said the proposal is meant to be a part of a larger conversation on what to do with the leftover money, among other things.
“We could talk about a city wide, tenants union, our renters are desperately in need of making sure they have support and they're organized,” Arthur said. “We could talk about organizing our neighborhoods in general. There are neighborhoods in this city that don't even have neighborhood associations or leadership councils.”
Some Metro Council members voiced concerns, including the possibility of losing out on district funding and increased oversight about their spending. But District 8 Council Member, Democrat Cassie Chambers Armstrong said it’s an opportunity for the body to hold itself accountable.
“We've had a lot of different ideas around what equity means when we're looking at the different needs in our different districts,” Chambers Armstrong said. “We all agree that equity is something that should be paramount when we're thinking about our city and think about how we all move forward together. And so I think we should all be accountable to each other for promoting that value and making decisions in line with that.”
The measure will be up for discussion before the full Metro Council on Thursday.