Fischer: 4 pools will not open this summer, city employees could see increase in health premiums

Fischer makes cuts to city swimming pools, ShotSpotter to combat budget deficit

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer addressed media Friday to discuss steps he and his team have taken to address the city's growing budget deficit.

Fischer and the Louisville Metro Council are currently facing a $35 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. The deficit is expected to increase $10 million per year over the next three years.

At a press conference, Fischer introduced steps the city has already taken and steps they are considering taking moving forward.

Fischer said the June recruiting class for the Louisville Metro Police Department has been canceled, and the Louisville Parks and Recreation Department will not open its four outdoor pools for the summer. The pool closures also come with an increase in fees at the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center.

The city has also made changes to the benefits of its employees. Some employees could see a 3% increase in health premiums. The city is also discussing the possibility of eliminating cost of living wage increases, which will require cooperation from local unions.

Fischer said there could be cuts to programs like ShotSpotter - which is used to detect and locate gunshots. He said he doesn't want to make these cuts he's talking about, but he doesn't see any other option after Metro Council failed to approve a tax increase.

"Obviously, I don't want to cut the number of police on our streets," Fischer said. "I don't want to create a new cost burden for dedicated, hard-working employees, or eliminate cost of living. Unfortunately, this is our new reality as directed by the majority of the council with their vote."

Fischer said he vehemently opposes the council's decision.

Metro Council president David James said creating this budget will be a team effort and the mayor will work with them to reach a solution.

"The mayor has a responsibility to produce a budget and he will do that," James said. "Then Metro Council has a responsibility to adjust that budget as they see fit. We both share a responsibility in making sure that we have a a balanced budget on July 1."

Fischer said he's also working with different suburban city mayors to find out how they can help.

To provide your opinion to city officials - you can click on the give us your input tab on their website.

Mayor Fischer will introduce a budget on April 25. Metro Council will have to agree on a budget by June 25.

City officials said there could be around 30 hearings still to come for the public to voice their concerns.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.