Fischer’s plan for US bailout money not in line with residents asked about city needs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – At a press conference Tuesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced plans to spend $ 262.2 million of US bailout funds given to the city. Highlights include $ 100 million for affordable housing, $ 78 million for public safety programs and $ 28 million in “Premium Pay” bonuses for essential workers in government positions.

The proposal shows very different priorities from the August Metro Council survey of about 2,000 people across Louisville.

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Voters select the three most important priority areas in ARP spending.(Louisville Metro Council)

The first three results of the survey:

1. Affordable / government subsidized housing – 1009

2. Public health – 661

3. Childcare / Early childhood education – 614

The mayor’s proposal and interviewees agree on spending on affordable housing, but no part of the new spending proposal is explicitly dedicated to public health. The mayor’s office said in a statement that it hoped to add funding for child care to the federal “Build Back Better” legislative package.

29% of the proposal is funding from Public Safety, which ranked fourth in the survey. $ 35 million of the $ 78 million would go to LMPD reforms suggested by a third party verification and the results of the still ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Justice into police practices. The remaining $ 43 million would be used to fund violence prevention programs, youth programs and a police diversion program, among other projects.

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A pie chart illustrating the division of the proposal of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer of the United States ...
A pie chart illustrating the division of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposal from US bailout spending.(WAVE)

A few days after the publication of the survey, the mayor’s office has ranked its priorities for spending. Housing’s top priority was constant, but indicated their second priority was workforce development and support for small businesses. Number three was public health programs.

The mayor said on Tuesday that part of the unallocated $ 80 million remaining after the proposal will go to workforce development and the healthy neighborhoods project early next year.

Spokeswoman Jessica Wethington responded to the shift in priorities by saying the city’s problem of violence is supplanting these less immediate ones:

“As the mayor said, it’s critical that we use these federal ARP funds to meet some of our city’s most pressing needs, and public safety must be our # 1 priority. Early Years will be considered for the third round of ARP funding early next year after ongoing coordination and discussions with the Metro Council. In addition, we continue to monitor the Build Back Better federal legislative package, which includes potential opportunities to address child care, as this will impact how we propose that the third round of ARP funding be allocated. “

A full breakdown of proposal numbers can be found here.

The Louisville metro board will consider the proposal at several meetings leading up to the vote on November 11.

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