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Louisville mayor centers gun violence reduction in 2024 budget proposal

Mayor Craig Greenberg delivered his first budget proposal to Metro Council.
J. Tyler Franklin
/
LPM
Mayor Craig Greenberg said the city must invest to decrease gun violence.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg unveiled on Thursday his 2024 budget plan, which includes funding for gun violence prevention services and an increase to the Louisville Metro Police Department.

The $1.1 billion budget plan, which covers fiscal year 2023-2024, indicates previous deficit forecasts may have been overblown. Greenberg proposed an operating budget that would increase 3.5% for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Following two mass shootings in Louisville this month, Greenberg put gun violence prevention and public safety at the center of the proposal to Metro Council – his first as mayor.

His budget includes a $230,000 investment to turn the existing Group Violence Intervention program into its own department, in an effort to reduce violent crime across the city.

Greenberg is also hoping to devote $500,000 to 911 call deflection. Louisville recently expanded that service, which allows providers other than police to respond to 911 calls.

“To build a safer, stronger, and healthier city, we must focus on reducing the amount of gun violence in our city,” Greenberg said to reporters earlier Thursday.

Greenberg’s budget shifts more money to the police department, following a recent Department of Justice report that found systemic civil rights violations at LMPD. The increase to LMPD’s budget includes additional trainers and warrant specialists that Greenberg said will help the department “comply with those reforms and improvements” highlighted in the DOJ report.

Greenberg also pointed to proposed funding to create a Gang Resistance Education Training Program for children in Jefferson County Public Schools, as well as new victim services positions, as part of the plan’s community engagement strategy.

“We want police officers in their daily life to be more engaged in the community,” Greenberg said.

Under the proposal, the city would invest $1 million for LMPD digital recruiting efforts.

Greenberg also highlighted affordable housing as a key component of his public safety agenda. His budget includes $15 million for the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as well as $2 million for small developer affordable housing preservation.

Greenberg said he sees affordable housing as a crucial part of making the city safer.

Among Greenberg’s economic development priorities under this proposal is to create a new grocery store incentive program, to encourage grocery stores to open locations in parts of the city that currently lack them – including west Louisville, south central Louisville and downtown neighborhoods.

“It is time that neighborhoods in Louisville that are food deserts have real grocery stores,” Greenberg said.

Council members respond

Metro Council members reacted to Greenberg's proposal with a positive tone.

District 7 Democrat Paula McCraney said Greenberg's budget was the best one she's heard in her years on Metro Council.

“I wanted to hear a budget that was a win-win for the community. I heard that," McCraney said, adding the budget will require some tweaks but is overall a positive step forward for Louisville.

Kevin Kramer, the District 11 Republican who is vice chair of the budget committee, welcomed Greenberg's prioritization of city parks, as well as his commitment to improving paving on city streets.

“That said, I think it’s a bit short of what we want," Kramer said, in reference to paving.

Council leaders also took note of Greenberg's prioritization of improving downtown Louisville. President Markus Winkler, a Democrat from District 17, said a vibrant downtown is crucial to the city's strength.

“Having a place that’s safe, attractive, and where people want to go is critically important for our economic growth," Winkler said, adding that the council still needs to work through the details of downtown investments.

Council members will work on the budget — taking feedback from residents, city employees and department leaders — for the next two months. They are expected to pass a final version in late June.

This story was updated to include comments from Metro Council members.