LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While some have made calls to defund the police, the City of Louisville is not doing that. Amid rising violence in the city, Louisville Metro Council is instead proposing added funds for possible salary increases for LMPD to help retain officers to fight crime.
“We can’t keep losing LMPD officers at the rate that we're losing them and having better pay is the way to have a better police force,” Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9) said.
The council is setting aside more than $9 million for potential salary raises for LMPD, Corrections, EMS and Fire pending ongoing contract negotiations.
It’s adding new funds towards a police-community relations project and moving nearly $3 million in funds from LMPD to Emergency Services for the new deflection program. It will send mental health professionals and others to certain emergency runs.
“We are doing everything we know to address violent crime in this community,” Hollander said.
Metro Council's other biggest change – libraries. More than $3 million is proposed to go towards renovating the Portland Library, replacing a closed library in Fern Creek and restarting library services in Parkland.
"Where are libraries being utilized, and where is there a desire for libraries and yet there is no library space to be had in those areas? So, this budget makes an effort at least in addressing that piece of the master plan," Councilman Kevin Kramer, (R-11) said.
Thanks to better than expected revenues and American Rescue Plan funds, the council was able to add about $17 million back into the budget towards things like road and sidewalk projects.
This also includes various maintenance projects, the demolition of LMPD headquarters and the Fiscal Court building.
The full Metro Council is expected to vote on the budget Thursday, June 24.
Other parts of Metro Council's budget plan include:
Sidewalk and Street Repairs:
- River Road Reconstruction ($2,250,000)
- Ohio River Levee Trail Phase III ($937,500)
- AB Sawyer Greenway ($600,000)
- Dixie Highway Streetscape – Wilson Avenue to Maple Street ($350,000)
- Olmsted Parkways Algonquin Parkway ($260,000)
- Olmsted Parkways Southern Parkway ($90,000)
- Ohio River Valley Northeast (ORVNE) segment of the Louisville Loop ($50,000)
- Westport Road Improvements ($1,000,000)
- Hikes Lane Repair ($850,000)
- St. Anthony Church Road Sidewalk Project ($187,000)
- Taylor Boulevard Crosswalk Improvements ($100,000)
- Urton Lane Sidewalk Connection to Shelbyville Road ($50,000)
- Brentlinger Lane Continuation ($350,000)
Deferred Maintenance Projects:
- Demolition of obsolete LMPD Headquarters ($1,000,000)
- Demolition of obsolete Fiscal Court Building ($1,400,000)
- LMPD 7th Division Headquarters Improvements ($50,000)
- Farnsley-Moreman Dock Restoration ($250,000)
- Douglass Community Center Renovations ($100,000)
- Locust Grove Renovations ($500,000)
Metro Council is also pooling its annual $1 million together towards human services across the community this year, instead of splitting the money across the 26 districts. It will go towards:
- $279,400 for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky’s “Another Way” program, expanding a pilot program to a county-wide effort. The program offers a new way for unhoused individuals to earn money and connect with Goodwill’s life-changing resources.
- $100,000 for the Volunteers of American Unity House, which provides food, housing and safety for families who become homeless due to a wide range of factors, including eviction, domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, unemployment or underemployment, lack of affordable housing, and lack of money management and/or life skills.
- Increased funding for Family and Children’s Place ($33,100) and the Center for Women and Families ($16,500).
- Funding to Catholic Charities for an indigent burial program ($65,000)
- “Parks for All” Equitable Investment Plan, to help develop a plan for equitable investments in parks throughout Louisville Metro ($200,000)
- Graffiti removal ($150,700); and hire two additional Code Enforcement Officers and one Zoning Enforcement Officer