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Metro Council budget committee passes amended budget with added funding for infrastructure projects

The Louisville Metro Council budget committee unanimously passed the amended capital and operating budgets Tuesday evening. The vote comes after two months of meetings and public hearings.The amended budget leaves much of Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed budget in place, including a $25 million increase for the Louisville Metro Police Department.The amendments focus largely on city-wide infrastructure improvements. “This coupled with the American Rescue Plan funding we approved last week, we’re making historic investments across the east, the south, central, west, and beyond,” Councilman Markus Winkler said.Those investments include a record amount of funding for road repairs, including more than $30 million for road repaving. It also sets aside $1 million to begin a new alley restoration plan.”I’m excited. I live in the Urban Services District where we have alleys where we haven’t really spent any money on repaving a residential alley in this community in decades,” budget chair Bill Hollander said.The funding also includes a $500,000 appropriation for traffic calming efforts across the entire Metro.The amended budgets also address a growing list of deferred maintenance with more than $3 million going to metro parks. The investments include:$1 Million for Jefferson Memorial Forest$1 Million for Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing$350,000 to replace the roof at the Iroquois Amphitheater$330,000 for public infrastructure near the new Maple Street Park in West Louisville$300,000 for continued improvements to Charlie Vettiner Parkan additional $100,000 for Nelson Hornbeck Park”The better we do taking care of deferred maintenance, the better opportunities we’re going to have in the future for operating budgets because it’s cheaper to fix it now than it will be in the future,” budget co-chair Kevin Kramer said.The amended budget also includes $3 million for sidewalk repairs, $200,000 to purchase new books and e-books at city libraries, and an additional $150,000 for mental health services at Metro Corrections.Funds were added to the budget to expand Goodwill’s Another Way program, which aims to end poverty and guide individuals to self-sufficiency by connecting them with Goodwill’s many resources. The amended budget funds the expanded county-wide program at $1 million. The amended budget also includes funding for homeless outreach in Downtown Louisville and $220,000 for homeless outreach in underserved areas, especially outside the Watterson Expressway.Kramer says much of the additional funding came from completed projects with leftover dollars that went back as far as 2014.”Those projects were finished and the money was sitting in an account waiting to be moved. So we found several opportunities to sweep those funds,” Kramer said.Councilman Anthony Piagentini, who chairs the republican caucus, praised the budget but urged the administration to be cautious with spending in the months ahead due to the uncertain economic conditions. “Everybody should be aware of that and all the department heads should be very very careful about the long-term operating cost commitments that are made until we see how we are faring through these sort of funky times that we’re living in right now,” Piagentini said.,That language was added to the budget along with other steps to safeguard the city.”It sets aside a good deal of money in case there are some problems in next year’s budget because of a downturn in the economy,” Metro Council President David James said.The amended budgets now head to the full council for a vote at Thursday’s meeting at 6 p.m.

The Louisville Metro Council budget committee unanimously passed the amended capital and operating budgets Tuesday evening.

The vote comes after two months of meetings and public hearings.

The amended budget leaves much of Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed budget in place, including a $25 million increase for the Louisville Metro Police Department.

The amendments focus largely on city-wide infrastructure improvements.

“This coupled with the American Rescue Plan funding we approved last week, we’re making historic investments across the east, the south, central, west, and beyond,” Councilman Markus Winkler said.

Those investments include a record amount of funding for road repairs, including more than $30 million for road repaving. It also sets aside $1 million to begin a new alley restoration plan.

“I’m excited. I live in the Urban Services District where we have alleys where we haven’t really spent any money on repaving a residential alley in this community in decades,” budget chair Bill Hollander said.

The funding also includes a $500,000 appropriation for traffic calming efforts across the entire Metro.

The amended budgets also address a growing list of deferred maintenance with more than $3 million going to metro parks. The investments include:

  • $1 Million for Jefferson Memorial Forest
  • $1 Million for Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing
  • $350,000 to replace the roof at the Iroquois Amphitheater
  • $330,000 for public infrastructure near the new Maple Street Park in West Louisville
  • $300,000 for continued improvements to Charlie Vettiner Park
  • an additional $100,000 for Nelson Hornbeck Park

“The better we do taking care of deferred maintenance, the better opportunities we’re going to have in the future for operating budgets because it’s cheaper to fix it now than it will be in the future,” budget co-chair Kevin Kramer said.

The amended budget also includes $3 million for sidewalk repairs, $200,000 to purchase new books and e-books at city libraries, and an additional $150,000 for mental health services at Metro Corrections.

Funds were added to the budget to expand Goodwill’s Another Way program, which aims to end poverty and guide individuals to self-sufficiency by connecting them with Goodwill’s many resources. The amended budget funds the expanded county-wide program at $1 million.

The amended budget also includes funding for homeless outreach in Downtown Louisville and $220,000 for homeless outreach in underserved areas, especially outside the Watterson Expressway.

Kramer says much of the additional funding came from completed projects with leftover dollars that went back as far as 2014.

“Those projects were finished and the money was sitting in an account waiting to be moved. So we found several opportunities to sweep those funds,” Kramer said.

Councilman Anthony Piagentini, who chairs the republican caucus, praised the budget but urged the administration to be cautious with spending in the months ahead due to the uncertain economic conditions.

“Everybody should be aware of that and all the department heads should be very very careful about the long-term operating cost commitments that are made until we see how we are faring through these sort of funky times that we’re living in right now,” Piagentini said.,

That language was added to the budget along with other steps to safeguard the city.

“It sets aside a good deal of money in case there are some problems in next year’s budget because of a downturn in the economy,” Metro Council President David James said.

The amended budgets now head to the full council for a vote at Thursday’s meeting at 6 p.m.



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