Mayor warns of budget cuts without new revenue

Mayor Greg Fischer has released a list of “devastating” cuts to city services that would be needed unless new revenue sources can be found to close a $65-million budget shortfall.

The potential cuts, according to a news release, include:

  • Staffing reductions in nearly every government department, including police, fire and ambulance services (317 layoffs in fiscal year 2020 alone)
  • The closure of library branches, fire stations, health clinics, community centers, pools and golf courses
  • The elimination of all Neighborhood Development Funds allocated to Metro Council
  • The elimination of External Agency Funds allocated to nonprofits for arts and social and community services.

“This list of cuts is long, and the impact would be devastating,” Fischer said in a statement. “But we’re required to balance our budget, and without a major source of new revenue, this is what it will take to fill the gap created by the Frankfort-mandated pension obligation.”

Fischer said that the administration is working with Metro Council on how to avoid cuts.

Earlier this week, the Mayor’s Office negotiated a change in a new ordinance that would allow the city more flexibility in operating parks, but also allowed the council to retain authority over potential closures.

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Councilwoman Cindi Fowler said in a brief interview with LEO that an insurance tax was being considered.

More information is promised to be released next week.

The shortfall is caused by a state-mandated requirement for the city to contribute more toward pensions.

“Louisville Metro is an efficient operation,” said the release. It claimed that the city is seeing revenue growth and that it has worked to reduce expenses in other ways, by slowing hiring down, limiting travel and reducing expenditures in technology, equipment and office supplies.

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