Monday November 26, 2007
Mayor Jerry Abramson today ordered a hiring freeze and other spending curbs to address a projected $9.6 million shortfall in revenue and ensure a balanced budget.
Abramson made the decision after reviewing revenue collection for the first quarter of the fiscal year, which shows that business net profits revenues are significantly behind projections.
“If revenue trends continue as projected, Louisville Metro Government will face a revenue gap of $9.6 million – a 1.9 percent shortfall in our expected revenue,” Abramson wrote in a memo to department directors. “Therefore, it is imperative that we take steps now to reduce spending and ensure a balanced budget.”
The spending freeze covers hiring, travel and discretionary capital outlay (e.g. computers, office furniture, etc.) for all departments and agencies throughout Louisville Metro Government, Abramson said. Exceptions will require approval from the Mayor’s Office.
The hiring freeze does not include the training classes for police, fire, corrections and EMS that are included in the budget and necessary to maintain the current strength of public safety personnel.
The last time that Louisville Metro Government faced a hiring freeze was nearly five years ago during the early months of the new merged government. Many of the positions frozen during those six months were later eliminated as part of Abramson’s downsizing of the newly combined government.
Major economic forecasting groups at the national and state levels are indicating a slowdown in the economy that’s typically seen at the end of a business cycle. While employment and wage growth remain positive, corporate profits have slowed substantially.
Louisville’s Chief Financial Officer Jane Driskell said she expects slightly positive revenue growth for the remainder of the fiscal year, but does not believe revenue collections will increase by the 4.5 percent mark projected last spring.
The Finance and Administration Department projected General Fund revenues of $514.9 million for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2008.