Police, mental health, infrastructure are high points in approved metro council budget

Metro Council members pass operating budget

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- After more than a month of debates, Metro Council members approved the city's $848 million budget for the next fiscal year.

Who gets the most money? 

The Louisville Metro Police Department which will see funding levels at $194 million – an increase of $14 million from last year. Twenty-eight new positions will be created, including hiring 16 more officers.

"I think that reflects the understanding of all of us that the most important thing we have to do as a city is make sure it's a safe place to be," said Councilman Kevin Kramer.

Metro Council also approved spending $800,000 on drug treatment and mental health services, including a pilot program at Centerstone.  It's designed to help those with mental illness stay out of jail and hospitals.  Kramer, who is also the vice-chair of the budget committee, says it's money well spent.  "If you look at what's happening with the ballooning addiction problems that we're having in Louisville, there was nothing in the mayor's budget that dealt very effectively with those problems," he told WHAS11.

On Monday, the mayor celebrated SummerWorks, the program that partners with employers to hire 16 to 21-year-olds while also teaching them the value of hard work.  Ironically, it's budget was cut.

The mayor proposed $600,000 while the council approved $435,000 citing low unemployment numbers and the need to spend money elsewhere.  KentuckianaWorks' executive director calls it disappointing.  

"The important thing to point out to people is, even though the unemployment rate overall is about four percent, for teenagers, it's three to four times that and the employment rate for teenagers across the country has dropped by 50 percent since 2000. So, there is a perception that's not always accurate that any kid who wants a job can get one," said Michael Gritton.

Your drive to work should get a little smoother.  $22 million will be spent on paving and road improvements – the council added about $6.5 million to the budget.

To view the 2017-2018 fiscal budget, click here.

 

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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