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Louisville Metro Council approves 2024-25 budget with some adjustments

Historic City Hall in Louisville, Ky., on June 3, 2014
Eleanor Hasken
/
LPM
Louisville Metro Council voted Thursday to approve the city's next budget, allocating about $1.1 billion.

After weeks of discussion, Louisville Metro Council members voted Thursday to approve a $1.1 billion city budget, which includes restoring a portion of funding for two environmental agencies.

Louisville lawmakers ended their budget season Thursday by approving the city’s second spending package under Mayor Craig Greenberg’s administration.

The Metro Council passed a $1.1 billion budget for the 2025 fiscal year starting in July. The package includes changes to Greenberg’s proposal, which he introduced in April and built with the stated goal of reducing 1% of each city department’s “least necessary” expenses.

Greenberg thanked council members for approving the budget in a statement after the vote.

“This budget makes key investments to reduce crime, build more affordable housing, help end family and youth homelessness, and spur new economic development and job creation,” he said.

Rick Blackwell, a District 12 Democrat who is the budget committee chair, recommended lawmakers approve both the city’s operating and capital budgets during Thursday’s meeting.

“I thank my colleagues for all your hard work. Thanks to our staff and all the people who put things together for us, including the mayor's office,” Blackwell said.

The approved budget includes many of the Greenberg administration’s top spending goals, including $5 million for the new Office of Philanthropy to help fund Thrive by 5, a nonprofit that seeks to improve early childhood education outcomes.

It also gives an 8% operating budget increase, down slightly from Greenberg’s 9% ask, to the Louisville Metro Police Department, bringing its annual allocation to about $240.5 million. That includes $375,000 for an independent monitor to oversee the city’s compliance with a Department of Justice consent decree to promote police reform.

The funding comes as LMPD faces an officer shortage and its acting police chief says violent crime levels are a concern in Louisville. Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel is currently suspended amid an investigation into the department’s handling of workplace sexual misconduct allegations.

In the last week, three women who work for LMPD have publicly alleged sexual harassment by colleagues.

Council members also retained some of Greenberg’s other requests, such as $1.5 million for the Louisville Economic Development Alliance and cutting more than $1.5 million from the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.

Only one Metro Council member cast a no vote.

Shameka Parrish-Wright, a District 3 Democrat, said during Thursday’s meeting that she could not support the operating budget because she had several concerns, including about transparency and ethics concerns surrounding LEDA.

“I cannot wholeheartedly vote for something that does not meet the needs, that funds the shells of organizations that are trying to use public dollars for private funding,” Parrish-Wright said.

Approved amendments

Members of Metro Council’s budget committee met earlier this week to adopt amendments to the city budget.

Leaders for the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension said during the budget process that Greenberg’s proposed cuts to their agencies, leaving them with $30,000 each, would effectively end them.

Council members agreed to add $83,200 to the conservation district, maintaining its current funding, and give $152,500 to the cooperative extension, restoring half of the agency’s lost money.

They also cut funding for a redesign of the Belvedere event space in downtown Louisville, lowering it from $15 million to $10 million and dropping a reference to transforming 4th Street as part of the project. There are currently no public design plans for the site, which the city has hired a firm to create.

The other budget amendments include halving a $1 million request to support the Kentucky College Art and Design, which has also received $5 million in state funding, and providing $467,000 for the Volunteers of America’s Unity House emergency shelter.

Jecorey Arthur, a District 4 Independent, thanked residents during Thursday’s meeting for providing input during budget talks over the past few weeks.

“We know that a city's budget is the city's priorities. And when people engage in that budget process, you can help make sure the budget meets the people's needs,” Arthur said.

Louisville Metro Council is now taking a three-week summer break before resuming on July 15.

This story has been updated.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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