Jefferson County, Kentucky

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Elected Officials P
Administrative Officials P
Permits, zoning
Lobbying N
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Public records
Local taxes
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Transparency grading process

Jefferson County is one of 120 counties in Kentucky. Since the formation of Louisville Metro on January 6, 2003, the functions formerly served by the county government were assumed by Louisville Metro. However, the former City of Louisville was effectively absorbed into the new city-county government.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Kentucky county websites

This website was reviewed on March 4th, 2013.

The good

  • Council members are listed with email forms, a communal phone number, and a physical address[1]
  • Building permits are posted.[2]
  • Zoning information is available.[3]
  • The website has a way to track government spending,[4] which includes a checkbook register and employee salaries.
  • Budgets are posted, going back nine years.[5]
  • The most recent audit (2013) is posted, and audits dating back to 2003 are posted as well.[6]
  • Local tax rates are posted, and tax revenues are included in the budgets.[7]
  • The contact official, information and a form are provided for making public records requests.[8]
  • Administrative officials are listed with personal phone numbers.[9]
  • Upcoming meetings and their agendas are listed, and agendas, minutes, and video from the past five years are archived.[10]
  • Awarded contracts and open/under review bids are posted.[11]

The bad

  • Elected officials do not provide personalized emails or phone numbers.
  • Administrative officials do not provide personalized emails.
  • No information is provided on Taxpayer-funded lobbying.

Elected Officials

Louisville is governed by an executive, who is known as the Metro Mayor, and a city legislature, known as the Metro Council.[12]

The Metro Council consists of 26 seats corresponding to 26 districts apportioned by population throughout the city and county. The residents of the semi-independent municipalities within Louisville Metro are apportioned to districts along with all other county residents. Half of the seats come up for re-election every two years. The council is chaired by a Council President, who is elected by the council members annually.[13]

As of 2011, 16 of the 26 council members are Democrats, as is Council President Jim King (District 10).[14]

Louisville Metro Council

District Council Member Party
District 1 Judith Green Democrat
District 2 Barbara Shanklin Democrat
District 3 Mary C. Woolridge Democrat
District 4 David Tandy Democrat
District 5 Cheri Bryant Hamilton Democrat
District 6 David James Democrat
District 7 Ken Fleming Republican
District 8 Tom Owen Democrat
District 9 Tina Ward-Pugh Democrat
District 10 Jim King Democrat
District 11 Kevin Kramer Republican
District 12 Rick Blackwell Democrat
District 13 Vicki Aubrey Welch Democrat
District 14 Bob Henderson Democrat
District 15 Marianne Butler Democrat
District 16 Kelly Downard Republican
District 17 Glen Stuckel Republican
District 18 Jon Ackerson Republican
District 19 Hal Heiner Republican
District 20 Stuart Benson Republican
District 21 Dan Johnson Democrat
District 22 Robin Engel Republican
District 23 James Peden Republican
District 24 Madonna Flood Democrat
District 25 David Yates Democrat
District 26 Brent Ackerson Democrat

Mayor Greg Fischer

Louisville's mayor is Greg Fischer.[15] He was elected as a Democrat in 2010, and he entered office on January 3, 2011.[16]

Salary information

According to Louisville's salary search function, Mayor Greg Fischer's 2011 salary is $110,346.60.[17]

The 16 Metro Council members are each paid $42,475.16 in 2011.[18]

Public employees

According to the Courier-Journal, the Louisville metropolitan government employs about 7,000 people.[19] As of April 17, 44 of these employees earned over $100,000.[20]

Emergency personnel

As of April 2011, there were 1583 employees in Louisville's Metro Police Department.[21] There were 263 employees in Louisville's Metro EMS,[22] and there were 500 employees in the Metro Fire Department.[23]

Stimulus spending

As part of 2009's American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, Louisville at Work was created. Louisville is currently in the process of receiving about $458 million.[24] As of about November 2010, the city has spent $152 million on education, $97 million on contracts and loans, $84 million on health and wellness, $79 million on transportation and infrastructure, $46 million on public and affordable housing, $21 million on homelessness prevention and social services, $20 million on economic development and energy efficiency, $15 million on workforce training, $11 million on public protection, $9 million on flood and water protection.[25] The organizations receiving funding range from the Louisville Orchestra and Ballet ($100,000) to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet ($16,021,710).[26] From July 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2010, 1,173 jobs were reported.[27]


See also: Kentucky state budget

In 2010-11, the Louisville budget was $532,020,600, an increase of 3.2% over 2009-10.[28] Of this, over 55% is spent on police and public protection, 9.7% public works and assets, 7.6% on capital projects and debt services, and between .6% and 3.9% on 15 other departments.[29] Louisville's public transit system, TARC, received $48,078,100 in the 2010-11.[30]


Most of the money comes from Louisville workers, businesses and property owners. In the city's budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, payroll taxes, or occupational license taxes, make up 51 percent of the city’s general tax revenue. Everyone who works in Louisville pays a share from their paychecks. Louisville’s businesses and companies also pay a share, known as the net profits tax.[31]

Property taxes – based on the assessment or value of real estate such as homes and businesses, and personal property such as vehicles – account for nearly 27 percent of the city’s revenue in the recommended budget.[31]

Taxed Area % of total
Occupational Taxes 51.4%
Property Taxes 26.8%
Charges for Service 4.2%
Federal Community Development 3.9%
Intergovernmental Revenue 3.7%
Water Company Dividend 3.4%
State Municipal/County Road Aid 2.3%
Licenses and Permits 2.3%
Capital Fund 1.0%
Fines 0.5%
Property Use and Interest 0.4%

Transparency and Public Records

Ken Fleming, R-7th District,and Hal Heiner, R-19th District, announced on January 24, 2009 that they were introducing an ordinance to require the city to build a searchable online database that reports on how tax dollars are spent, by which agency, who received the money, and where that money comes from. The ordinance passed the council 25 to 0, with one member not voting.[32]

The website also would be a storage vault for past financial reports, audits and contracts, while also tracking tax dollars spent by nonprofit agencies such as the Downtown Development Corporation, according to those early reports. reveals all checks written by Louisville or Jefferson County governments in the last three years.[33]

As of September 2009, Louisville residents have access to, where they can watch all that their tax dollars are doing in the city. At this time, the financial information on the site only goes through June 30, the end of the last full city fiscal year. The city will update the information only at the end of each new fiscal year.[34]

Former Mayor Jerry Abramson's spokesperson, Chad Carlton, criticized the creation of the site. He would have preferred the funding for LouisvilleCheckbook be spent instead on updating existing government sites.[35]


See also: Kentucky government sector lobbying

Louisville is a member of the Kentucky League of Cities, an organization that calls itself "the legislative voice for cities in Frankfort and Washington D.C."[36]

In 2011, the Kentucky League of Cities supported seven legislative measures on behalf of Kentucky cities. They included:

  • House Bill 119: city officials training legislation
  • House Bill 129: newspaper publication requirements
  • House Bill 167: insurance premium tax on multi-state surplus lines
  • House Bill 229: CERS reforms that help government


  • Senate Bill 25: annexation filing
  • Senate Bill 70: brownfields legislation
  • Senate Bill 135: code and nusiance enforcement reform

In 2009, the Kentucky League of Cities faced criticism because their executive director's spending. Her salary was reported to be $331,186 in 2009, an increase from $170,248 in 2002.[37]

Louisville is also a member of the National League of Cities, a national organization that lobbies on behalf of cities. This lobbying is also tax-payer funded.[38]

External links


  1. Louisville KY "Metro Council," accessed December 14, 2011
  2. Louisville KY "Permits," accessed March 4, 2013
  3. Louisville KY "Planning," accessed March 4, 2013
  4. Louisville KY "Your Tax Dollars at Work," accessed March 4, 2013
  5. Louisville KY "How the City Spends Your Money," accessed March 4, 2013
  6. Louisville KY "Audit Reports," accessed March 4, 2013
  7. Louisville KY "Revenue Description," accessed March 4, 2013
  8. Louisville KY "Open Records," accessed March 4, 2013
  9. Louisville KY "Staff," accessed March 4th, 2013
  10. Louisville KY "Metro Stream," accessed March 4, 2013
  11. Louisville KY "View City Bids," accessed March 4th, 2013
  12. "Wikipedia," Louisville Metro Council, accessed: April 17,2011
  13. "Wikipedia," Louisville Metro Council, accessed: April 17,2011
  14. "Wikipedia," Louisville Metro Council, accessed: April 17,2011
  15. Greg Fischer
  16. "Wikipedia," Louisville, accessed: April 17,2011
  17. Mayor's salary
  18. Metro Council salary
  19. County employment
  20. Louisville salaries
  21. Metro Police Employees
  22. Metro EMS Employees
  23. Metro Fire Employees
  24. Stimulus revenue
  25. Stimulus spending (dead link)
  26. Stimulus spending (dead link)
  27. Jobs created
  28. Louisville budget
  29. City spending
  30. Public transit spending
  31. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named tax
  32. WFPL News, "E-Transparency Bill Passes Council," April 9, 2009
  34. "City spending can be tracked," Courier-Journal, September 10, 2009
  35. "Let the sun shine in," LeoWeekly, January 28,2009
  36. Kentucky League of Cities
  37. "The Kentucky League of Cities Scandal," Louisville Examiner, December 18, 2009
  38. National League of Cities (dead link)