Louisville Mayor proposes balanced city budget [Opinion: The Arena]

Louisville Mayor proposes balanced city budget

“I am keeping that promise,” Fischer said. “The library is the only project I’m borrowing money to pay for. The city should generally only issue bonds for strategic long-term investments and the library meets that standard.”

fischer wave.jpgThe library, to be located in Valley Station on Dixie Highway, will cost $13 million. The city will pay $9.5 million and the Library Foundation will raise $3.5 million.

“This is one of several great examples of how we have leveraged taxpayer dollars with contributions from the private sector,” Fischer said.

Other ways in which the city attracted private dollars include:

  • $1 million SummerWorks jobs program for at-risk teens. The city is contributing $100,000 and the private sector $900,000;
  • $900,000 to purchase 82 acres of land that will connect the Louisville Loop with Jefferson Memorial Forest. The city will contribute $450,000 and David and Betty Jones will contribute $450,000;
  • The creation of the Louisville Heritage Conservation Fund to help save and restore historic properties in Louisville in emergency situations. The city is contributing $500,000 toward that fund to be matched dollar-for-dollar by a private donor. The first project to receive a loan from the fund will be the Whiskey Row project on Main Street.

Louisville Metro Budget_2.jpgThe mayor also continued funding $4.9 million in grants to external agencies, arts, community ministries, and social service agencies. He also kept funding levels for the University of Louisville indigent health care fund, known as the Quality Care and Charity Trust, at $7 million, the same level since city-county merger in 2003.

Other budget highlights include:

  • $1.5 million to replace the HVAC system at Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center in Crescent Hill;
  • $500,000 to assemble West Louisville property to help attract business. One of the biggest obstacles to job creation in that area is the lack of large tracts of land;
  • $500,000 for lighting and other improvements on South Fourth Street, between the Seelbach and Brown hotels, to attract retail downtown;
  • $400,000 to purchase 55-gallon recycling bins for two neighborhoods to be chosen at a later daMetro Council budgetpasses004a.jpgte. The city is piloting the larger bins on two routes to determine if people recycle more often;
  • $125,000 to help foreclose on 100 of the most marketable vacant properties. Those properties, in turn, would be sold to private investors who would renovate them and improve neighborhoods;
  • $90,000 to hire a nurse to help with non-emergency calls for EMS;
  • $75,000 to buy e-books for library users;
  • $60,000 to hire a tree inspector to help improve the city’s tree canopy;

The mayor presented his budget plan today to the Metro Council, which will spend the next month reviewing it before a final vote in late June. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

city budget spending.jpg

Expenditure classifications in current Louisville city budget

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