LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - From new housing developments to businesses, if you live or work in east Louisville, you’ve probably noticed growth is in overdrive.
Now, some Metro Council members who represent the area are complaining the city is not keeping up when it comes to infrastructure.
In a time when the city is slashing the budget, how can money head in that direction?
Council members say they are talking about providing basic safety and infrastructure services -- the job of local government. They say the city needs to take a hard look at exactly where the money is going, contending some money needs to be re-directed to an area making a lot of revenue for the city.
“It’s absolutely exploding out here,” Councilman Anthony Piagentini (R-District 19) said.
From Norton Commons to Eastwood to Aiken Road, new subdivisions, apartment complexes and businesses are popping up like spring flowers.
“Generally speaking, we’re very excited,” Piagentini said. “Our only concern is this city dedicating the kind of infrastructure resources that are required to make that growth sustainable and keep up with the growth rate that’s happening out here. And right now, unfortunately that’s not happening.”
Piagentini and Councilman Scott Reed (R-District 16) said east Louisville is the city’s growth engine, but when it comes to new sewer lines in Eastwood and replacing or widening of old farm roads in Middletown, they and their constituents are not feeling the love.
“Those roads were never built to withstand that level of traffic,” Piagentini said.
They contend private developers are ponying up and paying occupational taxes driving revenue growth, yet only state transportation officials have stepped-up with help on some main roads.
“It’s about re-prioritization and focusing on the growth engines of the city," Piagentini said.
Reed told us through a Metro Council spokesman that the city’s paving budget has gone from $3 million five years ago to $20 plus million now, but he’s still spent most of his time and his dedicated funds on paving and sidewalks.
Worthington and Eastwood fire just announced a merger with Anchorage/Middletown to offer ambulance service. Some residents like Matt Foushee feel they’re forced to self-tax to keep up with the growth.
“With metro services not really focusing and helping us plan in that way, we’re left to do it on our own," Foushee said.
Jean Porter, Mayor Greg Fischer’s Director of Communications, sent WAVE 3 News the following statement:
"We agree that we need more money for paving, sidewalks and other infrastructure work. We’ve ramped up spending in those areas over the last several years, and we’re still behind. We’ve been operating on a “fix it first” strategy that you’ll see in the budget that Metro Council approved for the current fiscal year -- $18.2 million for paving, $1.5 million for sidewalks and $1.5 million for bridge maintenance.
“It’s ironic that some of the Council members who voted against a revenue plan that would have merely avoided cuts are now asking for more services. How do they propose to pay for more at a time we will be unable to even sustain what we’re already doing?”
As far as the sewer lines are concerned, MSD spokeswoman Sheryl Lauder sent the following statement:
"MSD has invested time, effort and capital dollars during the past 40 years—constructing 1,000 miles of sewer lines, eliminating nearly 300 failing “package” or small sewage treatment facilities and 40,000 septic systems—bringing quality, reliable sewer service to unserved areas throughout Jefferson County.
"MSD plays an active role with existing and future residents and businesses as land use plans develop for the vital services the agency provides. As a practice, new developments pay for sewer service extensions in unserved areas. However, sewer service and wastewater treatment capacity are available to serve new customers in northeastern Jefferson County.
“Currently, MSD Capital Budget dollars are focused on Consent Decree requirements.”