Louisville, Kentucky

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Louisville is one of the five largest cities in Kentucky. Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky. It is the county seat of Jefferson County. In 2003, Louisville and Jefferson County had a city-county merger, making Louisville cover the whole county. The county's estimated population is 721,594, with 1,266,454 in the metro area.[1]

City council

Current members, Louisville City Council
District Councilmember Party
1 Attica Woodson Scott Electiondot.png Democratic
2 Barbara Shanklin Electiondot.png Democratic
3 Mary C. Woolridge Electiondot.png Democratic
4 David W. Tandy Electiondot.png Democratic
5 Cheri Bryant Hamilton Electiondot.png Democratic
6 David James Electiondot.png Democratic
7 Ken Fleming Ends.png Republican
8 Tom Owen Electiondot.png Democratic
9 Tina Ward-Pugh Electiondot.png Democratic
10 Jim King Electiondot.png Democratic
11 Kevin Kramer Ends.png Republican
12 Rick Blackwell Electiondot.png Democratic
13 Vicki Aubrey Welch Electiondot.png Democratic
14 Cindi Fowler Electiondot.png Democratic
15 Marianne Butler Electiondot.png Democratic
16 Kelly Downard Ends.png Republican
17 Glen Stuckel Ends.png Republican
18 Marilyn Parker Ends.png Republican
19 Jerry T. Miller Ends.png Republican
20 Stuart Benson Ends.png Republican
21 Dan Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic
22 Robin Engel Ends.png Republican
23 James Peden Ends.png Republican
24 Madonna Flood Electiondot.png Democratic
25 David Yates Electiondot.png Democratic
26 Brent Ackerson Electiondot.png Democratic

Elected officials

Louisville is governed by an executive, who is known as the Metro Mayor, and a city legislature, known as the Metro Council.[2]

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.[3]

As of 2011, 16 of the 26 council members are Democrats, as is Council President Jim King (District 10).[4]

Mayor Greg Fischer

Louisville's mayor is Greg Fischer.[5] He was elected as a Democrat in 2010, and he entered office on January 3, 2011.[6]

Salary information

According to Louisville's salary search function, Mayor Greg Fischer's 2011 salary is $110,346.60.[7]

The 16 Metro Council members are each paid $42,475.16 in 2011.[8]

Public employees

According to the Courier-Journal, the Louisville metropolitan government employs about 7,000 people.[9] As of April 17, 44 of these employees earned over $100,000.[10]

Emergency personnel

As of April 2011, there were 1583 employees in Louisville's Metro Police Department.[11] There were 263 employees in Louisville's Metro EMS,[12] and there were 500 employees in the Metro Fire Department.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15] The organizations receiving funding range from the Louisville Orchestra and Ballet ($100,000) to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet ($16,021,710).[16] From July 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2010, 1,173 jobs were reported.[17]

Budget

See also: Kentucky state budget

In 2010-11, the Louisville budget was $532,020,600, an increase of 3.2% over 2009-10.[18] 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.[19] Louisville's public transit system, TARC, received $48,078,100 in the 2010-11.[20]

Taxes

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.[21]

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.[21]

Taxed Area % of total
revenue
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.[22]

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. LouisvilleCheckbook.com reveals all checks written by Louisville or Jefferson County governments in the last three years.[23]

As of September 2009, Louisville residents have access to LouisvilleCheckbook.com, 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.[24]

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.[25]

Lobbying

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."[26]

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 mergers
  • 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.[27]

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.[28]

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngC
Budget
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Meetings P
Partial.png
Elected Officials P
Partial.png
Administrative Officials
{{{1}}}
Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts P
Partial.png
Lobbying N
600px-Red x.png
Public Records
{{{1}}}
Local Taxes
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School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Tax information is posted in the 'Where the City Gets Its Money' section.[21]
  • Budget information is posted.[29]
  • Meeting schedules, agendas, and minutes are posted online.[30][31]
  • Contact information for elected and administrative officials is posted online.[32]
  • Building permit information is posted online.[33]
  • Zoning districts are posted.[34]
  • Audit reports are posted.[35]
  • There are instructions on how to make an open records request.[36]

The bad

  • Current projects up for bid are posted[37], but previously awarded contracts are not posted.
  • Lobbying activities are not posted.
  • No e-mails provided for elective or administrative officials.

External links

References

  1. "Wikipedia," Louisville, Kentucky, accessed: April 17,2011
  2. "Wikipedia," Louisville Metro Council, accessed: April 17,2011
  3. "Wikipedia," Louisville Metro Council, accessed: April 17,2011
  4. "Wikipedia," Louisville Metro Council, accessed: April 17,2011
  5. Greg Fischer
  6. "Wikipedia," Louisville, accessed: April 17,2011
  7. Mayor's salary
  8. Metro Council salary
  9. County employment
  10. Louisville salaries
  11. Metro Police Employees
  12. Metro EMS Employees
  13. Metro Fire Employees
  14. Stimulus revenue
  15. Stimulus spending
  16. Stimulus spending
  17. Jobs created
  18. Louisville budget
  19. City spending
  20. Public transit spending
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Where the City Gets Its Money
  22. WFPL News, "E-Transparency Bill Passes Council," April 9, 2009
  23. LouisvilleCheckbook.com
  24. "City spending can be tracked," Courier-Journal, September 10, 2009
  25. "Let the sun shine in," LeoWeekly, January 28,2009
  26. Kentucky League of Cities
  27. "The Kentucky League of Cities Scandal," Louisville Examiner, December 18, 2009
  28. National League of Cities
  29. Budget Information
  30. Schedules
  31. Minutes
  32. Elected & administrative officials
  33. Building permits
  34. Zoning information
  35. Audits
  36. Open records requests
  37. Purchasing