Welcoming latest class of firefighters, mayor addresses potential cuts

Welcoming latest class of firefighters, mayor addresses potential cuts
If Metro Council does not approve the insurance tax increase, the city will face deep budget cuts, including to public safety.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - While congratulating the latest class of firefighters to join the city’s ranks, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer defended his call to raise taxes on life and property insurance, among other policies.

The increased revenue would cover a $65 million budget shortfall.

Fischer called the city’s budget already a “lean operation” and said the tax hike is “a reasonable, phased-in increase.”

The specific cuts called for would reduce staffing in nearly every department--including the possible closure of some fire stations.

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The reductions to public safety would call for two of the city’s 21 fire stations to be closed. The options for the chopping block are: Engine 1- Grade Lane; Engine 15 - South Preston; Engine 20 - Bardstown Road; Engine 17 - 18th and Garland; and Truck 3 and Engine 16 - 6th and Hill.

The $65 million budget cuts would also eliminate general fund support to Suburban Fire.

“When you think about the image of closing a firehouse, that is not the image of a city on the rise," Fischer said. "That’s something that would be silly to do. So we believe in our city up here. We’re going to fight for our city. We’re going to continue to invest in our city.”

The plan would increase the average family’s premium tax by about $12-$13 a month, a statement from the mayor’s office said.

Fischer’s proposal, which the Metro Council has about five weeks to make a decision on, does not include car insurance, as rates tend to be higher in lower income areas. Auto insurance rates would not be affected.

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