LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Council and city leaders say they are looking for bold ideas on how to spend the $340 million in funding provided by the American Rescue Plan.
For weeks, the city has been accepting comments and suggestions from the public through public meetings and online forms. Using those submissions, the council's Budget Committee drafted a resolution laying out five areas where the money was needed most.
Here are the top priorities:
- Homelessness and affordable housing
- Workforce development
- Health Louisville/Neighborhoods
- Public Safety
- Premium Pay
According to the resolution, community partners are encouraged to submit proposals that "promote equity and make a sustainable, significant community impact" within these areas. Proposals must be approved by the full Metro Council.
The Budget Committee discussed the resolution at a meeting Thursday night, with council members sharing their thoughts on what areas should take top priority.
Councilman Bill Hollander (District 9), who led the meeting and is a co-sponsor of the resolution, said the committee tried to focus the priorities on the highest needs in the city. He said several programs could be included in each category, even if they weren't specifically listed.
However, Councilman Brett Ackerson (District 26) felt the topics were too broad.
"Should we just take this money and spread [it] around everywhere, to where there isn't really anything new in this town?" he asked.
Multiple council members urged the council Thursday to use the bulk of the funding to work on solutions for Louisville's homeless population.
"This is a one-time opportunity and we must have the political will to do what is transformative for this community," said Councilwoman Paula McCraney (District 7).
Councilman Jecorey Arthur (District 4) said even if the council used all $340 million in ARP funding on addressing homelessness, it wouldn't be enough to solve the problem. However, he said the money could be a chance to make a major dent in the effort.
Hollander said once the resolution is approved, the council will establish smaller groups to work on proposals for each priority. He hopes council members collaborate with the community to develop ideas in line with their passions.
The Budget Committee unanimously passed the resolution Thursday. The full council is scheduled to vote on it on Aug. 26.