Mayor Fischer discusses the 2012 budget

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Despite, occupational tax revenues falling short of projections, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says he's solved the $12 million budget deficit for this fiscal year.

It's thanks, in part, to a 3.5 million dollar settlement with Insight Communications who's being bought out by Time-Warner.

The mayor maintains that the economy is still fragile and when it comes to spending, being frugal is a necessity.

A 3.5 million dollar settlement from Insight Communications couldn't come at a better belt tightening time for Mayor Greg Fisher.

"The timing of the settlement is obviously fortunate," Fischer says, it means already approved capitol projects survive.

But the mayor warns the settlement money is a one time deal, setting the table for more cuts to come.

Fischer announced department spending cuts for another $6.8 million.

Nine vacant city positions won't be filled, five of them in the parks department.

Agencies that get city money are chipping in for the budget cuts:   The Louisville Science Center is cutting $20,000, Waterfront Development $24,000 and Greater Louisville Inc. $50,000.

$1. 6 million will come from the city's vehicle replacement fund and the March police recruit class will be delayed until June to save nearly $700,000 more.

Fischer says the mild winter helped the city save a lot of money on snow removal costs and lower gas prices also helped.

The mayor is turning over $41,000 in his discretionary funds. The Metro Council will give up $142,000.

"We want to play a part in helping out and saving that money so we need to look at our own budget and our own house," said Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, who represents District 7.

But to make up a $20 million dollar shortfall in the next budget, the mayor promises a hard look at overtime and pensions in the next few months. He says initial meetings with union leaders went well. "We explained to them what the goals are for the city and what makes up the financial challenge that we have so everybody is on the same page," Fischer said, "and we also reminded them what a great community we have and what we want it to be."

For now, Fleming applauds Fischer for what he calls a logical step in reviewing old union contracts. "There's got to be some understanding and some receptive individuals on the unions to say look does this really make sense given what's going on in the private sector and the public sector," Fleming told WAVE, "we've really got to think what's prudent for the taxpayers."

Craig Willman, President of the firefighters union told us, they are offering at least one cost saving measure so far--- to sell the outdated Jefferson Street firehouse to the University of Louisville for it's medical expansion at the old hay market. Firefighters would merge into other departments.

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