Smart-Aleck Responses to Budget Highlights

Just for fun, let’s take a look at the official highlights of the Mayor’s budget, accompanied by our own editorial comments.

Preserves basic services despite rising costs and declining revenues
Anticipates 1.4 percent decrease in General Fund revenues

Predicting future revenue is risky, as we learned the hard way. Last year’s decrease was 2 percent, so this means the Mayor thinks things are getting better. Let’s hope he’s not wrong again.

Creates about 3,000 private-sector jobs to stimulate the local economy with capital investments in roads, sidewalks, public housing, parks.
Leverages $109 million in federal, state and private dollars with $8.2 million in local tax dollars

The federal stimulus money to the rescue.

Continues reducing the size of government
Eliminates 528 positions, including 119 filled and 409 vacant jobs
Brings net reduction of government positions since merger to 1,600 jobs

It is about time that local government stopped claiming that avoiding layoffs was some kind of moral victory.

Devotes largest share of revenue to police department to keep citizens safe
Provides $152 million for police, about 30 percent of General Fund budget
Maintain current strength of police force with two recruit classes
Invests $5.6 million in new police cars, body armor, in-car computers, cameras and other equipment

Even Jerry knows that public safety is the last thing to cut. And the city’s lost battle on take-home cars is showing up in this budget.

Read the Rest after the Jump…

Invests $28.9 million in streets, sidewalks, bikeways, other transportation needs
Represents largest allocation in seven years of new government
Includes nearly $7.7 million in street and road improvements and $4.95 million in new sidewalks
Allocates $5.6 million for traffic light synchronization along major suburban roads including Dixie Highway, Preston Highway and Shelbyville Road

Many of these expenditures will be criticized as being unnecessary, but using federal money to fix things and putting people to work with it is a good move. Now if only the administration can manage all this without scandal.

Completes new MetroSafe system, including new downtown headquarters
Allocates $4.3 million for final phase of emergency communications network

Yes, it’s time to complete this one.

Allocates $18.9 million to provide housing for elderly and low-income citizens
Includes $6.3 million for weatherization of homes

Includes funding for innovative solutions that improve quality of life
Provides $400,000 for new e-subpoena system to better ensure officers and witnesses make court appearances to testify against alleged criminals
Creates much-needed grocery store for Park duValle neighborhood in West Louisville through innovative public-private partnership
Allocates $1 million to EMS for improved, life-saving defibrillators

That is a lot of housing money. Weatherization?  Government is financing a grocery?

Modernizes TARC with $22 million investment
Includes funding for more hybrid buses, improved maintenance facility

A green seal of approval for public transportation improvements.

Provides $6.2 million to non-profit agencies that help citizens in need
Includes funds for community ministries and social service organizations

The Mayor just doesn’t have the heart to cut support to non-profits.

Improves park system by providing $4.5 million, primarily for connecting trails

We actually applaud government spending on parks, something we can all use.

No increases in taxes
Raises construction-related fees and alcohol licenses in line with state charges
Increases inmate booking fee from $25 to $35
Adds charges for EMS non-transport runs and fire department hazardous-materials inspections

Alert us when a politician admits to raising taxes, though raising fees is just what that is. Targeting builders, bar owners and inmates doesn’t seem right. And more money for the corrupt jail system?

Additional cost-saving measures
Closes non-essential government services for four days to save money
Continues 5 percent annual pay cut for Mayor, top leadership team
Freezes salaries for non-union employees
Temporarily reduces frequency of street sweeping, junk pickup
Consolidates four health clinics to three regional locations – Dixie Highway, Middletown and Newburg
Reduces some parks programming including WinterScene and SummerScene and eliminates Studio 2000 art program

Why not more furlough days? No one really did without during the spring furloughs. A monthly furlough day would save how much more money?  And of course nobody’s getting a raise.

5 thoughts on “Smart-Aleck Responses to Budget Highlights

  1. As much as a Buffon as Denny Norris is he does have a point. From what we are seeing in Metro Government is totally inept management. Jerry is targeting low wage workers like file clerks and receptionists and layoffs could have been avoided. For the past year we continued to marvel at why he was still hiring for unnecessary (during a recession) positions and not preparing for budget problems.

    As large as metro government is the cuts could have been made through attrition. He is playing games with job titles, laying off a twenty year “receptionist” but keeping a “clerk” with three months experience. Department Managers should have anticipated cut backs long ago and moved the “receptionist” laterally into the vacant “clerks” position as a proactive move months ago.

    It will be interesting to see the final tally of who gets laid off and their affiliation. Will it be skewed against former county workers, former city workers, union members or non-union employees without seniority rights?

    Bottom line is he could have done this a lot smarter and achieved the same goal.

  2. None of this means anything until the Metro Council Budget Committee, headed by Jim King, goes through the hearing process. The Council people can re-balance the budget anyway they choose, although they would have the same basic priorities as the mayor.

    Will King’s handling of the Budget process make him next in line to be mayor? If so, anytime soon? There is said to be two credible and deep-pocketed people, non-electeds, ready to announce their willingness to challege Abramson, something King and Tandy will never do.

  3. Government is not a business, but there are many operational and infrastructure aspects that need to be run with a business approach. This is severely lacking in Mayor McCheese’s administration. We need a mayor that can balance the human aspect of government (which is for the benefit of the citizenry, not the city employees), while cleaning house on the years of accumulated abuse, waste, patronage, incompetence, fraud……the list goes on and on.

  4. Before you start believing the LMPD budget, you can look and see that Jer has budgeted (again) for a full 1255 sworn officers. There are currently approximately 1125 active sworn officers employed by LMPD, with the traditional retirement month coming up in July.

    He does this every year. He budgets the money for positions he has no intention of filling, then returns the ‘saved’ money back to the black hole commonly referred to as the General Fund. This amounts to over $10 million hidden dollars that looks like it goes to something legitimate, then disappears. Go figure. Meanwhile, the department isn’t nearly as big as the mayor makes it out to be.

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