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Metro Newsroom

Democrats pass Metro Louisville's first budget

Thursday June 26, 2003

Media Release
For Immediate Release

For Information Contact:
Jennifer F. Brislin


Patrick H. Neely

Democrats tonight approved Louisville Metro's first full-year budget, appropriating funds for health insurance for laid-off workers, domestic violence initiatives, and economic development projects, including amateur athletic complexes.

The operating budget passed on a 15-11, party line vote. The capital budget passed 16-10, with only one Republican voting with the majority.

"It's particularly disappointing that at the 11th hour, after meeting daily for weeks, Republicans rejected their most basic duty - approving a budget," Councilman Rick Blackwell, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said. "They played politics with the budget and abandoned programs and projects desperately needed by our city."

"No one on the council supported every aspect of this budget - laying off individuals, enduring severe cutbacks to external agencies that we rely on to provide basic services," he added. "But thankfully for people throughout the community, and particularly for those in districts represented by Republicans, a majority of the council took their fiscal and community responsibilities seriously to approve a budget."

Since the beginning of June, council members held more than 41 hours of departmental hearings, and held 2 public hearings, drawing more than 50 speakers to voice their opinion on the budget.

Democrats also restored funding for needed road improvements throughout the city. The administration's budget proposed $900,000 less for road improvements than what was spent in the current year. Council members identified $500,000 in road improvements throughout the community that need to be done within the next 12 months.

"Two days ago, the head of the Republican Caucus was bragging about how the council had come together on the budget and how pleased he was with the process," Blackwell said. "It's difficult to determine exactly why that changed, since their caucus discussions are held behind closed doors."

Veteran legislators concurred.

"In my 12 years as a local legislator, this is the most open budget process I've ever seen," said 21st District councilman Dan Johnson, a former member of the Board of Aldermen.

In rejecting the budget, Republicans criticized the inclusion of additional funds for non-profit agencies, saying the council should respect the mayor's proposal for external agency funding. Yet of the $600,000 added by the council for non-profits, 15 percent of that was added by one Republican councilman. And Republicans inserted themselves in the external agency process by removing funding for one agency proposed by the mayor.

"They didn't have any problem adding to this portion of the budget, if it related to an external agency that they supported," Weston said. "But they could not respect the independent judgment of others when they made recommendations for agency funding."


Cyril Allgeier (D)  10
Denise Bentley (D)  1
Rick Blackwell (D)  12
Willie Bright (D)  4
Madonna Flood (D)  24
Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D)  5
Robert Henderson (D)  14
Dan Johnson (D)  21
George Melton (D)  15
Tom Owen (D)  8
Barbara Shanklin (D)  2
George Unseld (D)  6
Tina Ward-Pugh (D)  9
Ron Weston (D)  13
Mary C. Woolridge (D)  3