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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Mayor Presents Picture of Progress

Thursday May 31, 2007

Budget plan provides funding for new downtown land initiative; investments in public safety and quality of life are top priorities

For the full list of budget highlights and documents go here.

Mayor Jerry Abramson today proposed a $810 million spending plan that will build on Louisville’s downtown renaissance, increase public-safety funding and improve government services, while bracing for rising pension and health insurance costs.

“This budget is a picture of progress that builds on our success during the past four years and charts a course for fulfilling promises we’ve made to our residents that will create new jobs, improve public safety and increase the quality of life in our hometown,” Abramson said.

The budget plan creates the IDEAL initiative – Investing in Downtown for the Economic Advancement of Louisville. The newly created land-development effort will allow the city to purchase strategic properties to build on existing downtown investments and continue the renaissance.

The mayor’s budget provides $1 million in down-payment funds to purchase more than $3 million of land in the old Louisville Water Company block, which is bound by Second, Third, Muhammad Ali and Liberty streets.

Private companies have expressed an interest in the Water Company block and other land parcels downtown as possible sites for mixed-use developments including retail, housing and/or entertainment.

Public Safety

The mayor’s budget plan invests $286 million, more than half of the operating budget, in the city’s public-safety agencies.

Public safety projects include:

  • $22 million, the largest single public-safety investment in the city’s history, for MetroSafe Phase III, which will connect all of the city’s first responders on one state-of-the-art communications network. The money will build towers for the new radio system and renovate the downtown MetroSafe headquarters.
  • $149 million to operate the police department, including three recruit classes to train 120 new officers. The budget creates a new six-person Civilian Report Unit that responds to non-emergency calls, freeing up officers for urgent calls. The budget provides for new body armor, in-car cameras, renovations at the firearms training center, mobile data terminals and computers for department divisions.
  • $4 million to replace aging firehouses in Portland and Clifton, plus funding to redesign the firehouse in Beechmont. Almost $3 million is also included to purchase four new fire trucks.
  • $1.1 million for a new Metro Animal Services adoption center, which will be under construction by the end of the year. Funding for two additional animal-control officers and an adoption coordinator is part of mayor’s budget plan.

Quality of Life

A River Road recreational corridor that will feature Louisville Champions Park highlights new investments in the city’s parks department.

Other investments include:

  • $1 million for the City of Parks to match an estimated $12 million in private dollars for a community center designed for people with disabilities.
  • $7.8 million for recreation and improvements in dozens of neighborhood parks.
  • $19 million for roads, sidewalks, bike paths and other improvements.
  • $13.6 million in job attraction, retention and expansion.

Rising Pension & Healthcare Costs

The mayor’s fiscal year 2007-08 budget projects city revenue to grow by about $23 million. While revenues have increased, so have personnel and healthcare costs. Pension payments have almost doubled since 2004, soaring this year to almost $66 million dollars. Healthcare costs make up nearly $40 million of the operating budget, up from $25 million five years ago.

“We can dream boldly. We can spend wisely. But the truth is that a day of reckoning is coming. Our tax dollars are not keeping pace with the soaring costs of running a government where 70 percent of our operating budget goes for personnel costs,” Abramson told the council.

In departments where staff has been added, positions have been removed from other departments. Despite increased personnel costs, Abramson’s budget is balanced with no tax increases or service cuts.

For the full list of budget highlights and documents go here.