The Kentucky General Assembly delivered its budget to Governor Andy Beshear in the closing hours of its 58th legislative day. The spending plan includes several projects important to cities.
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Grant Program would receive $250 million in FY 2023 from Kentucky’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Like the 2021 Cleaner Water Program grants, the state would allocate grants to each county on a per capita basis, with Jefferson County’s population reduced by 50%. The budget also provides $13.7 million in bond funds to match $219 million in federal funds over the biennium for the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Program. Legislators allocated another $10 million in FY 2023 for the Water Management Assistance Fund, which will assist with capital and non-capital expenses of governmental entities that provide drinking water and wastewater services.
House Bill 1 includes $28.5 million to update the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) firing range in Richmond, a project the KLC Board of Directors voted to support. Additionally, legislators allocated $2.5 million to study building a law enforcement training facility in Madisonville. The proposal states that the General Assembly intends to authorize a capital project for law enforcement professionals receiving training at the Western Kentucky Training Center.
Both law enforcement projects could help the current backlog at the DOCJT academy in which new officers wait months for required training.
The budget measure also allocates $538,400 in both fiscal years to support additional positions and costs associated with reclassifying current DOCJT instructors. It raises the $4,000 police officer and firefighter training incentive pay to $4,300 and includes an administrative reimbursement of up to $1 million.
Other key allocations in House Bill 1 include:
- $13.2 million to the Local Government Economic Development Fund in FY 2023 and $15.6 million in FY 2024;
- $50 million each fiscal year for the KentuckyWired Broadband Network;
- $132 million in FY 2022, $60 million in FY 2023, and $56 million in FY 2024 to fund the Emergency Rental Assistance Program within the Finance and Administration Cabinet;
- $2 million to prevent abuse of drugs and facilitate recovery in 32 southern and eastern Kentucky counties through Operation UNITE; and
- An 8% pay raise for state workers on July 1, 2022.
Governor Beshear has 10 days after receiving the bill, not including Sundays, to sign or veto the measure, or it becomes law without his signature. The Kentucky Constitution allows the governor to issue line-item vetoes of appropriations bills. Legislators delivered House Bill 1 to the governor on March 30. Senators and representatives return to the Capitol on April 13 for two final legislative days reserved for veto overrides and passing any remaining bills.