Mayor Signs City Budget Into Law
Friday June 29, 2012
Calling it a lean spending plan that makes strategic investments in the future and in public safety, Mayor Greg Fischer today signed into law the new budget for Louisville Metro Government.
The $513 million general fund budget takes effect July 1. It includes construction of a new Southwest Regional Library, funding of three new police recruit classes and one fire recruit class, and foreclosing on 100 vacant and abandoned properties.
The budget also makes structural changes to help solve the city’s fiscal challenges so future expenses more closely match future revenues, including reducing overtime across city government by 10 percent, a $3.1 million savings.
Fischer thanked the Metro Council for its thoughtful deliberations the past month, and he lauded members for practicing restraint by not raising revenue projections, as it has done in the past.
“This is a prudent budget that helps our community accomplish some important goals,” Fischer said.
The Mayor signed the budget passed last week by the council without any vetoes or changes.
Fischer said that, even with relatively flat revenues, the city was able to leverage public dollars with private dollars. Some of those projects include:
- $1 million SummerWorks jobs program for at-risk teens. The city is contributing $100,000 and the private sector $900,000;
- $900,000 to purchase 82 acres of land that will connect the Louisville Loop with Jefferson Memorial Forest. The city will contribute $450,000 and David and Betty Jones will contribute $450,000;
- The creation of the Louisville Heritage Conservation Fund to help save and restore historic properties in Louisville in emergency situations. The city is contributing $500,000 toward that fund to be matched dollar-for-dollar by a private donor. The first project to receive a loan from the fund will be the Whiskey Row project on Main Street. As that loan is repaid and other donations from the Whisky Row project flow back into the fund, those dollars will be put to use on other historic preservation projects in the city. Because the Whiskey Row developers have pledged other dollars to the fund, it will eventually contain $4.5 million.
The new budget contains no layoffs and no furloughs and gives non-union employees a 2 percent cost-of-living raise, the first in two years. Other budget highlights include:
- $1.5 million to replace the dilapidated HVAC system at Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center in Crescent Hill;
- $500,000 to assemble West Louisville property to help attract business. One of the biggest obstacles to job creation in that area is the lack of large tracts of land;
- $500,000 for lighting and other improvements on South Fourth Street, between the Seelbach and Brown hotels, to build on the existing plan to attract retail downtown;
- $400,000 to purchase 55-gallon recycling bins for two neighborhoods. The city is piloting the larger bins on two routes to determine if people recycle more often as part of the city’s increased sustainability efforts. The project is part of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
- $125,000 to help foreclose on 100 of the most marketable vacant properties. Those properties, in turn, would be sold to private investors who would renovate them and improve neighborhoods. The project is part of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
- $90,000 to hire a nurse to help with non-emergency calls for EMS, also part of the Bloomberg project;
- $75,000 to buy e-books for library users;
- $60,000 to hire a tree inspector to help improve the city’s tree canopy, help reduce the urban heat-island affect and improve drainage by keeping storm water of the sewer system.