Fischer says public safety cuts likely following tax-hike rejection

Updated: Mar. 22, 2019 at 6:53 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Without new revenue, $35 million in cuts will be made to this year’s Metro budget, $30 million more over the next three years.

City leaders this week rejected Mayor Greg Fischer’s plan to raise taxes on some forms of insurance to cover Louisville’s obligation to help fix the state’s pension crisis.

Some Metro Council members and the mayor see the city’s future very differently.

“It’s discouraging that the mayor is still in this mode of threatening people,” Councilman Kevin Kramer said.

Kramer was one of 15 council members who voted against Fischer’s proposed tax hike. The mayor said he is disappointed in the decision, adding that it’s his responsibility to share the scary truth about major cuts.

Kramer said it’s time to look for inefficiencies.

“We collect recycling every week, and we collect it for the most part in those little orange bins,” Kramer said. “If we were to switch to the carts, then we could go to recycling every other week.”

Kramer is optimistic that finding little savings here and there will add up, but Fischer is doubtful.

"It isn’t a question of doing a better job of ordering office supplies; we can do that, but that’s not $65 million that is just a drop in the bucket,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.

Fischer said every expenditure is up for consideration. He will review spending with department heads to find expenses to cut. Some Louisville residents don’t know if the services they use will be considered a useless expense.

“I don’t want this place shut down on me, or any of the other seniors,” said Vernon David, who receives food from Meals on Wheels at the Kling Senior Center every weekday. The city contributes $50,000 to the program.

“People that think there needs to be a smaller government, we need them to step up and be more charitable and help these types of organizations,” Fischer said.

Fischer has said in addition to public services, public safety is also at risk.

“The first place you should look to cut should not be public safety,” Kramer said. “There are other ways to do it.”

While politicians figure out the best way to spend public money, Vernon David said he hopes the impact on the senior center isn’t too deep.

“This is a place where I eat and where we can get out of our apartments,” he said.

The 2020 budget will be presented to City Council on April 25.

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