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Law enforcement reform funds included in Louisville Metro budget for 2020-2021

The council chose not to cut funding for LMPD, but they will fund a civilian review board for police and help disadvantaged neighborhoods.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Council approved the 2020-2021 Capital and Operating Budgets in a 24-1 vote on Thursday. The council chose not to cut funding for the Louisville Metro Police Department, but they will fund a civilian review board for police, as well as help neighborhoods in need.

Instead of spending state forfeiture funds on police equipment, LMPD will put the money toward diverse recruitment, training and exploring the use of coresponders.

"I am proud of the police reform, particularly the oversight system," said Councilman Bill Hollander, budget committee chair.

Earlier in the week, Councilman Brandon Coan floated a plan to cut 15% of LMPD's funds over the next three budgets, but his plan did not gain support.

"It's just a shame that we have a continuation budget in a moment in history when society's finally changing," Councilman Coan said.

The budget also directs millions of dollars towards disadvantaged neighborhoods, fully funding the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

"I am very, very proud and supportive of this new budget that is supportive of the disadvantaged neighborhoods," Councilwoman Donna Purvis said.

Following the vote, Louisville Metro Council provided this list, breaking down some of the highlights of the budget:

Law Enforcement Reform:

  • $763,500 in funding for a civilian oversight system.
  • $1.2 million in state LMPD funds for exploration and implementation in deflection along with co-responder approaches which place behavioral health specialists with police to offer case management connections to treatment, housing, and services
  • $1.6 million in federal funds redirected to recruitment efforts for a police force which more closely looks like and lives in the community; and training, including use of force, de-escalation, and implicit bias.

Housing:

  • $5 million in additional funding for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund (LAHTF) and its partners to address vacant and abandoned properties through the creation of direct purchase or lease-to-purchase opportunities.
  • $2.5 million for programs that support home repair, address vacant and abandoned properties, and increase home ownership.
  • $1 million is allocated for a new Homeowner and Rental Repair Loan Fund to support improvement of residences
  • $413,400 will put a Metro Public Works crew into neighborhoods, and particularly alleys, to clean areas which have a high level of illegal dumping.
  • $170,000 to hire two additional Code Enforcement Officers working with Develop Louisville to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods.
  • $21.2 million, supported by the federal CARES Act, for rent assistance needed to prevent evictions as a result of coronavirus-related financial issues.
  • $21.2 million, supported by the federal CARES Act, for small business assistance needed as a result of coronavirus-related financial issues.
  • $3.5 million to help build and support a community grocery.
  • $1 million is appropriated for youth and young adult programs, to be approved by Metro Council.

Other Budget Changes:

  • $14.3 million for infrastructure improvements such paving and includes $700,000 for a study of all Louisville Metro road conditions. The sidewalk repair budget is increased by $500,000 and additional funds are appropriated for facilities, parks and library maintenance and repairs$700,000 for a required dry-dock inspection and repair and $500,000 in operating funds for the Belle of Louisville
  • $500,000 to outfit the Middletown Library, at a location provided at no cost to Louisville Metro by the City of Middletown.

Mayor Greg Fischer released a statement following the budget approval:

My thanks to the Metro Council for their partnership and diligence on the FY21 budget, especially Budget Committee Chairs Bill Hollander and Kevin Kramer. 

When I proposed this continuation budget in April, I cited serious budget uncertainties related to COVID-19. In more recent weeks, while our funding levels for this budget are still not firmly set, there has been greater certainty on another front: We need more investment in human capital.

We are experiencing one of the most challenging times in our history, with the COVID-19 pandemic, protests against structural racism, an economic recession and the need for police reform. Yet these challenges also present an opportunity to enact substantive transformation on many fronts, include building a more just, equitable and compassionate community. And that starts with addressing the root causes for disparity, which is why I am pleased we were able to work with Council to increase funding for affordable housing, and add funding to address vacant and abandoned properties and other neighborhood-level investments. 

I am also pleased this budget advances some of our steps toward police reform, including funding for the Civilian Review Board and an office of Inspector General. And I look forward to working with the Council on how to best utilize the $1 million youth appropriation.

And I remain hopeful that Congress will soon approve additional funding for state and local governments still struggling with the impact of COVID-19 on our budgets. Additional funding would allow us to make more investments to move us closer to the goal we share for the future – a compassionate city where every person from every neighborhood has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

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