Politics

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will present his budget proposal to the Metro Council later this week.

Fischer is scheduled to present his spending plan at 4p.m. Thursday afternoon at City Hall in lieu of the council’s regularly scheduled meeting. His annual address comes a month early this year, as is required by an ordinance approved last year by the council.

Fischer will likely focus heavily on public safety, as he has in past years. Nearly 60 percent of the current fiscal year’s near $822 million budget is dedicated to public safety.

Criminal homicides continue to surge at record levels in Louisville and drug-related overdoses are climbing as well, according to police data.

Fischer told reporters earlier this month he’ll likely seek to boost spending on drug addiction treatment and recovery.

Councilman Brent Ackerson, a Democrat, wants Fischer to allocate up to $9 million extra in police spending to hire more officers. His effort is gaining little support, it seems, and was tabled at a council committee meeting earlier this month.

Ackerson points to continuing violent crime and property crime as evidence for the need.

Some anti-violence experts, however, say more spending on police is a misguided approach to reducing violent crime.

Anthony Smith is the former director of the city’s Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and current head of Cities United, a group founded by mayors, for mayors in cities where violence is a problem.

He said in an interview with WFPL News earlier this month that the focus should instead be on improving neighborhoods, schools and creating opportunities for young people on the brink of violence.

“We’ve got to make sure our young kids see a future,” he said. “They have a bright future.”

Fischer also submitted an op-ed to The Courier-Journal last week, in which he opposed President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program. Fischer said Trump’s proposed cuts could slash Louisville’s $11 million CDBG allocation in half.

“It’s really, really important to remember that a few typed lines in a federal budget can have an enormous impact on your life and the lives of people in Louisville and other cities and rural communities all over our country,” he wrote.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.