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Metro Newsroom

Abramson Unveils 'Sound, Strategic' City Budget

Thursday May 29, 2008

See budget documents  / Read speech

A new library in Newburg and a new firehouse in Beechmont. Money to train 106 new police officers and 30 new firefighters. And $16 million to complete the MetroSafe emergency communications network.

These are some of the highlights of Mayor Jerry Abramson’s proposed $812 million budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, unveiled today to the Louisville Metro Council.

“This budget is a sound, sensible, strategic spending plan,” Abramson said.

“It continues the day-to-day basic services – protecting the public, paving our streets, picking up the garbage and more,” he said. “But it also keeps our on-going commitments to revitalize our downtown and neighborhoods, improve public safety and security and provide a stronger, smarter government for citizens.”

The budget reduces the size of government by eliminating another 400 vacant positions. Since merger in 2003, more than 1,100 government positions have been eliminated, creating a more efficient, streamlined government, Abramson said.

Abramson projects 2.9 percent growth in revenue in the coming fiscal year, the lowest growth in five years. In contrast, the city faces much larger cost increases for gasoline, electricity, health care and more.

The mayor’s budget plan:

  • Provides funds to complete MetroSafe by allocating $16 million for Phase III of the emergency communications network, including a new downtown headquarters and radio system;

  • Modernizes the fire department by building a $4 million fire station in Beechmont, investing $2.8 million for new fire trucks and training 30 new firefighters;

  • Devotes $154 million for police protection, about 30 percent of general fund budget, and trains more than 100 new police officers;

  • Creates the first new Louisville Free Public Library branch in a decade – a $1 million library in Newburg that focuses on technology and computers;

  • Invests in a major economic catalyst with purchase of land for the Center City District downtown. About $17.6 million will complete purchase of key parcels in the former Water Company block and make preliminary infrastructure improvements. The investment will leverage $200 million to $450 million in private investment by The Cordish Company;

  • Builds a new centrally-located Animal Services adoption center by providing an additional $850,000 for construction of $3 million facility;

  • Fuels expansion of the Louisville Zoo’s Glacier Run facility by investing $900,000 to leverage private donations. The zoo is the city’s leading paid tourism attraction;

  • Improves energy efficiency through the “Go Green Louisville” initiative by reducing electricity and natural gas use by 10 percent over the next two years. The budget aims to decrease fuel consumption by using smaller vehicles and pool cars and leverages $4.3 million in federal, state and private funds for new biking and walking paths.

Highlights of Mayor Abramson's Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2008-09

Continues basic services despite rising costs, lowest revenue growth in 5 years

Reduces the size of government

· Eliminates about 400 vacant positions, bringing net reduction of government positions since merger to more than 1,100

Provides funds to complete new MetroSafe system

· Allocates $16 million for Phase III of emergency communications network, including new downtown headquarters and radio system

Modernizes fire department with third new firehouse, trucks and safety equipment

· Invests $4 million in new Beechmont fire station

· Adds $2.8 million for new fire trucks to replace older vehicles

· Includes $950,000 for new fire-fighting boat, water rescue equipment

· Trains 30 new firefighters to maintain department strength

Devotes largest share of revenue to police department to keep citizens safe

· Provides $154 million for police, about 30 percent of General Fund budget

· Trains more than 100 new police officers to maintain force strength

· Invests $1.5 million in body armor and in-car computers and cameras

Creates the first new Louisville Free Public Library branch in a decade

· Allocates $1 million for construction of innovative Newburg library branch

· Provides funding for operation of branch, which would open next year

Leverages $450 million economic investment in Center City District

· Provides $17.6 million to purchase key parcels, make infrastructure improvements in former Water Co. block

· Devotes $525,000 to revitalize neighborhood retail through COOL program

Builds new centrally located Animal Services adoption center

· Provides additional $850,000 to fund a $3 million first-phase facility

Funds expansion of Louisville Zoo, one of the city’s leading tourism magnets

· Includes $900,000 to leverage millions in private funds to expand Glacier Run

Improves energy efficiency through Go Green Louisville efforts

· Reduces usage of electricity, natural gas by 10 percent over two years

· Decreases fuel consumption by using smaller vehicles, pool cars

· Leverages $4.3 million in federal, state and private funds for bike/walk paths

Other budget highlights

Parks and Recreation

· $915,000 for general park improvements and repairs

· $400,000 for Waterfront Park Phase III

· $250,000 for Salvation Army / Kroc Center indoor aquatics facility

· $100,000 for Riverview Park development

· $90,000 for Starfish aquatics training partnership with JCPS

Roads and Streets

· $14.1 million for roads, streets and other transportation improvements

Housing and Family Services

· $9.8 million for various housing improvement efforts, including $1.6 million for continuing revitalization of Liberty Green

· $4.2 million in operating grants for more than 120 community ministry groups and non-profit organizations serving human services, youth and arts needs