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Louisville Metro asking for public feedback as work on 2024 budget begins

city Hall
J. Tyler Franklin
Metro Council members will work on the city's budget through June.

Budget season is underway in Louisville this week, as various city departments appear before Metro Council to justify their spending plans for 2024.

Mayor Craig Greenberg recently proposed an $817 million operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. Greenberg’s first proposal as mayor is 3.5% larger than last year’s budget and includes new investments in community centers, city employee salaries and the police department.

Council members will hear from agency leaders in the coming weeks about how they plan to spend their slice of the budget. The 26-member body is also expected to propose amendments, moving money around to fund their priorities, and hear feedback from the public. Metro Council will have the last word on next year’s budget, with a final vote scheduled for June 22.

What’s new in the budget?

In his speech to Metro Council on April 27, Greenberg said the main focus of his budget proposal is reducing the rate of homicides and violent crime. Sixty people have already been murdered in Louisville so far this year, according to the Louisville Metro Police Department.

“We have far too much gun violence in our city,” he said. “We need to take immediate action by making investments targeting violent crime prevention, which this budget does.”

Greenberg’s proposed budget would make the city’s Group Violence Intervention initiative its own department and provide funding for a department director. He’s also proposing a slight increase in funding for the city’s 911 deflection program, which sends social workers rather than police officers to some emergency calls for service.

Funding for LMPD would also increase by about $4 million compared to the current budget. Greenberg proposed putting $1.5 million toward replacing expiring officer gear such as body armor, and another $1 million into expanding recruiting efforts. City officials say LMPD is currently short hundreds of officers.

The proposed police budget also includes $2.3 million for more than a dozen new hires, including two more homicide detectives, a warrant review specialist and six civilian investigators. Greenberg said the additional personnel would help LMPD implement reforms recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice following its investigation into racial discrimination and unconstitutional policing by the department.

“It’s essential that we give our officers the training, equipment, structure, guidance, support and resources they need to do their jobs and do it the right way,” Greenberg said.

The LMPD budget for community engagement and rebuilding trust is expected to increase by just $25,000. Greenberg also proposed funding for other initiatives he said would help community engagement, such as a program to teach public school students to resist joining gangs.

Greenberg also said he wants to increase funding by about $4 million for Louisville’s troubled Department of Corrections, where 13 people died in just over a year. That includes an additional $500,000 for clinical care and reentry services for incarcerated people.

The budget proposal makes good on promises Greenberg made last year to reorder some city departments and offices. There’s $462,400 to stand up a new Office of Philanthropy focused on securing state and federal grants, and $806,200 to expand an independent Office of Sustainability.

Not every city agency would see their funding increase, however. Greenberg said his proposed budget is one that “balances reductions with strategic investments.”

Funding for community centers would increase by about $750,000 to expand Saturday hours and youth programming. But the overall budget for Parks and Recreation would drop by roughly $2 million compared to last year.

The budget for Develop Louisville — which is being renamed as the Office of Housing and Community Development — would decrease by nearly $15 million as some operations are transferred elsewhere and other services are cut. There’s a $100,000 reduction in funding for the Louisville Ballet, a $500,000 cut to the agency's program focused on improving homeownership rates and a $65,000 reduction in funding to maintain public art.

Some Metro Council members have indicated they plan to seek more funding for road repaving and sidewalk repairs than Greenberg’s proposed budget accounts for.

District 11 Council Member Kevin Kramer, a Republican and vice chair of the Budget Committee, acknowledged that the nearly $30 million being proposed for roads and sidewalks is “the largest amount that we’ve seen proposed by a mayor in a while.”

“That said, it’s a little bit short of where we might want to end up in terms of what Public Works has asked for,” he said after Greenberg’s speech.

Kramer said that’s one area Metro Council will explore in the upcoming budget negotiations.

How the public can weigh in

Metro Council is asking for residents’ feedback on what changes they’d like to see to the proposed 2024 budget.

An in-person budget hearing will be held at City Hall, 601 W. Jefferson Street, on May 30 starting at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in speaking during the meeting will have to sign up in person immediately before the hearing begins.

Residents can also submit comments through an online feedback form until Wednesday, June 7.

A complete schedule of Metro Council’s budget meetings is available on its website.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.

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