Monday December 1, 2008
Libraries, parks, paving, Neighborhoods and Brightside impacted
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced additional spending reductions that include closing libraries and community centers one day a week and eliminating all street paving through June 30, 2009, to help close a $20 million budget hole.
The reductions across city government departments will save an additional $3.4 million for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. Most of the cuts are effective Dec. 14 to maximize the cost savings.
“I know these cuts are painful – and I am pained to make them,” Abramson said. “We are in very difficult economic times that require difficult decisions.”
The cuts, and their savings, are:
- Eliminating street and road paving, $1.43 million
- Closing libraries on Sundays, $165,0000
- Closing community centers one day a week, on Mondays, $105,000
- Closing at the Mary T. Meagher pool one day a week, on Sundays, $27,000
- Closing Otter Creek Park in nearby Meade County on January 1, $180,000 (See FAQ)
- Reducing grants to arts group by 50 percent, $511,000
- Reducing funding to Waterfront Park and the Belle of Louisville, $92,000
- Reducing grants to economic development agencies, including Greater Louisville Inc., Greater Louisville Sports Commission and area business groups, $270,000.
- Eliminating funding for the Starfish swimming program, $90,000
(Jefferson County Public Schools leadership plans to recommend ending Starfish due to budget constraints.)
Abramson also announced more than $527,000 in spending cuts in programs in the Neighborhoods Department, more than 11 percent of the agency’s budget. Services impacted by the cuts will include Brightside, the city beautification program; Studio 2000, a youth arts program; and the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.
Today’s reductions follow other spending restrictions announced two weeks ago to manage a $20 million revenue shortfall, the result of a global economic downturn that’s now hitting Louisville. The measures include furloughing non-essential employees for three days; restricting hiring, travel and discretionary spending; and a 10-percent pay cut for the Mayor and his department directors.
Abramson is continuing to talk with union leaders about personnel savings options, including rolling back the 2-percent annual raises for employees effective Jan. 1, 2009. The raise rollback option for all city employees, both union and non-union, would save about $2.6 million over six months. That’s equivalent to the salaries and benefits of about 100 employees for six months.
More reductions will have to be made to meet the budget shortfall, Abramson said, but he will not cut funding to social services agencies, such as community ministry groups, that are helping more people in need during tough economic times.
“Every agency in every area of city government will be affected,” Abramson said. “Working together, we can manage through this tough time.”