Friday May 23, 2003
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that significant reductions and changes to Louisville Metro Government’s fleet operations will save taxpayers some $6 million in the upcoming budget.
Additionally, Abramson announced during a news conference today that future changes regarding government leases of buildings will save up to $2 million each year.
“The bottom line is that we’re continuously looking at ways to do more with less,” Abramson said during a news conference in the city government parking lot between 6th and 7th streets Friday morning. “You’ll see that in the budget that I propose next week. You will see that in our actions and deeds in the months and years to come.” T
he most dramatic initial changes are occurring in the government’s fleet management practices, Abramson said. Louisville Metro Government currently has 2,800 vehicles out of some 4,700 pieces of “rolling stock.” The largest share of vehicles includes police and passenger cars.
Previously, Abramson said the combined governments purchased 300 to 400 new vehicles each year and sold a similar number that had reached the end of their useful lives. The combined spending ranged between $7 million and $8 million.
Abramson said the budget he is proposing May 29 will eliminate all but a handful of purchases, making do with existing vehicles in the fleet and achieving savings of about $6 million.
Abramson added that excess cars in the fleet – perhaps up to 100 vehicles – will be sold to achieve additional savings. Several other departments – including Public Works, Facilities Management and Youth Detention Services – also are eliminating several cars from their fleets.
In addition, Abramson said Metro Government will be “looking for ways to get more out of each car we buy” by converting some take-home cars to pool cars and by using cars longer. The Fire Department, for example, is converting five take-home vehicles for administrators to pool use. And the Air Pollution Control District will go from seven take-home cars to four pool cars, while eliminating the other three vehicles.
In terms of buildings and leases, Abramson said the bulk of savings will be realized in future budgets. The combined city and county governments owned more than 300 buildings and paid about $2 million a year for lease space in nearly 50 other buildings. Abramson said his administration’s strategy is to “significantly reduce the number of buildings we’re leasing and ultimately save between $1 million and $2 million annually.”
First-year savings will be invested in renovating space in city-owned buildings and to cover the cost of moving departments and people, Abramson said.
Pointing to the Legal Arts Building at Seventh and Market streets, Abramson said the government has been paying $165,000 a year to lease one floor for the Neighborhoods Department, CityCall (now MetroCall) and the Brightside program.
When that lease is up in July, Abramson said the departments will be moving to a now-vacant building already owned by the city, the old Convention and Visitors Bureau office at First and Liberty streets. Also, Abramson said it was recently discovered that MSD had extra space in its administration building. With MSD’s agreement, the Solid Waste Management Department is moving into the unused space for free, opening up a floor at the Urban Government Center that can be used as agencies move out of other leased space. “Our plan is to repeat this process of moving our people out of leased buildings and into government-owned buildings,” Abramson said. “Ultimately, we may very well find that we own more buildings than we need and decide to sell some of them, which would provide one-time savings that could be used for capital needs in future budget years.” ###