Abramson's final budget promises not to raise taxes

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email   
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – On May 27, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson issued his last budget address to the Metro Council. It is an $821 million spending plan, which combined federal stimulus money, grants, and the general fund.

Abramson said the plan would make strategic investments, would not raise taxes, and it would keep basic services Metro Louisville already has.

During his address, Abramson thanked the council. He said together they made sure Louisville progressed.

"I personally want to thank all of you for what you have done to bring us to this day," Abramson said.

Abramson said they have almost completed a promise they made 7 ½ years ago, when city and county government merged. That is when they came up with MetroSafe. Abramson is proud to say it's in its final stage, making sure all emergency responders have radios.

The Mayor's 2010-2011 fiscal year budget continues to support responders. More than half of it is funds police and public transportation.

The proposed budget includes, but is not limited to:

$152 million would go to the police department to strengthen the force and to pay for 2 new recruiting classes

$7 million would help public protection buy new safety equipment, including body armor, tasers, cardiac monitors for EMS, surveillance cameras for corrections.

$17.1 million for housing and neighborhood projects

$9.3 million would fund energy saving projects

$5 million would fund non-profit agencies

Almost $4 million would pay for a new library in Fairdale and expand the Shawnee Branch.

Mayor Abramson announced his proposed budget does not spend money from the rainy day fund. He thanked the Metro Council for the achievement.

Abramson said his financial advisors told him tax revenue rose slightly by less than 1 percent, which he considered good. He said in the past few years, it's been negative.

Councilman Kelly Downard (R-District 16) said he was pleased with the mayor's proposed budget.

"I think we have some breathing room, this year. I think we'll be able to move forward and start planning our future in a much more positive manner," said Downard, who added, "I want to take time to look into it."

Meanwhile, Budget Committee Chairman said, "we've had several tough budgets," said Councilman Jim King, the Budget Committee Chair. "I think I heard today we are beginning to turn the corner."

King (D-District 10) said when the council reviews the budget it typically approves 99% of it.

"I'm thrilled there are no layoffs. I am disappointed that we will not be restoring any of the service cuts," said King looking ahead.

The Metro Council will start reviewing the budget Tuesday, June 1. There are two public hearings. Those are scheduled Wednesday, June 2 and Monday, June 14.

WAVE 3 checked with both candidates for mayor, one of whom will take the reins during this new budget. Republican Hal Heiner commented that it is a conservative budget proposal. Heiner said the numbers are similar from last year and he is glad it does not jump the gun on spending. Democrat Greg Fischer said he is pleased with the budget's priorities including public safety, city services, and no new taxes.

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