A plan by the Louisville Metro Council to bring back a pair of junk pickup and street sweepings in the Urban Services District will go forward despite reports that a “budget glitch” made restoration impossible.
The city used to offer those urban services four times a year within the old city limits, but the cleaning days were cut to two in 2009 as a result of the recession.
Several council members voiced frustration with Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration for not using the budget surplus this year to put those services back. This June, the council allocated $400,000 to restore the pickup and sweeping, but the Public Works Department said last week it could not move the money necessary to follow the council’s vote.
Public Works spokeswoman Lindsay English tells WFPL the department may have spoken too soon.
“It appeared that there was a technicality, however, that information was incorrect and the money is there,” she says. “So now what Public Works is planning to do is review how we can best spend that money to help restore some of those services and investigating what the best way to spend that money will be. And we will be reporting back to Metro Council on a proposal by the end of September.”
Council members were miffed at the announcement that money from sales receipts could not be used for tax-based services, and would prevent their attempts to reinstate those services.
According to City Hall sources, the mayor’s office apologized to city lawmakers on Friday for the media reports and promised the $400,000 will be in the budget. The Office of Management and Budget was asked to review the matter and quickly adjusted the figures.
“Somebody at Public Works misread the budget or got the wrong interpretation. They just didn’t know what they were talking about,” says a council source.
The department declined to say where the misinformation came from.
“I don’t think it’s really relevant to focus on that,” says English. “It was just some incorrect information that was put out there. We’ve reviewed it and we know that the money is there and we will be able to work on getting some additional services back in the Urban Services District.”
The council is asking Public Works to testify on how they plan to restore those services before the budget committee by September 30.