Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Politics
12:14 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Louisville Public Works 'Budget Glitch' for Junk Pickup, Street Sweeping Dismissed

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."

Read more
Politics
8:40 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Vision Louisville Gives Mayor Greg Fischer Chance to Tout Local Option Sales Tax

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is inviting residents to share their big ideas at a town hall meeting this week, but the administration has an added incentive—promoting the local option sales tax.

Vision Louisville is a public forum series scheduled to take place throughout the city and is part of Fischer’s 25-year strategic plan.

The mayor hopes to gather 45,000 ideas from citizens over the next 45 days on how Louisville should develop and feel. Among the issues heard at the first public forum held last month were public transportation, quality of life and arts funding.

Many of those and other ideas being shared concentrate on economic development, and mayoral spokesman Phil Miller says Fischer believes any future for Louisville must include a look at the cost of and how to pay for large-scale development.

"Certainly the idea of a progressive Louisville where progressive projects are undertaking is tied very closely to the LIFT initiative. And I think that’s why he thinks it’s important for the future of the city,” he says.

Read more
Local News
2:38 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Final Construction Phase Begins for Parklands of Floyds Fork

Rendering of what the Parklands of Floyds Fork will look like.
Credit Wallace Roberts & Todd / Parklands of Floyds Fork

Work is underway to incorporate 2,400 acres in southeastern Jefferson County into the Parklands of Floyds Fork project along the Floyds Fork watershed.

The start of the fourth and final phase was commemorated Wednesday by the project’s developer, 21st Century Parks and by several Louisville leaders, including Mayor Greg Fischer and Humana founder David Jones Sr., who helped launch and raise money for  the project.

The final phase focuses on Turkey Run and Broad Run parks.

Read more
Politics
5:51 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Urges Against Food Stamp Cuts But For Ban on Soda Purchases

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is urging Congress against cutting food stamps in the upcoming farm bill.

But a letter the mayor signed also asks federal lawmakers to bar recipients from buying sodas and other sugary beverages.

The House is expected to vote on the legislation this week with the $80 billion Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, at the center of the debate. Republicans are pushing for $4 billion in cuts, but Democrats argue that could kick up to 2 million recipients off the food stamp rolls.

On Tuesday Fischer joined over a dozen other mayors in saying Congress should do more to combat obesity and create incentives for food stamp recipients to buy more fruits and vegetables.

Among those who signed the letter were New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who pushed to ban soda drinks in large sizes  before a court ruling nixed the plan.

"Congress should direct the USDA to test policies that support healthful food choices and reduce consumption of products, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, that threaten the health of many Americans," the letter reads.

Read more
Politics
11:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Following Cuts in Mayor's Budget Plan, Non-Profits Ask Louisville Metro Council for More Funding

The Louisville Metro Council heard from over three-dozen organizations that were cut in Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed budget.

Speakers representing ministerial foundations, arts groups and other non-profit agencies implored city lawmakers to add needed funding for their programs, which provide various charitable services.

Among those who presented their case before the council was Charles King, who is president and CEO of Project One President, which a summer jobs program for Louisville youth.

Joined by dozens of teenage participants, King says despite passing accredited reviews and receiving $80,000 from the city last year, Fischer’s proposal allocated nothing for the group in his new spending plan.

"The zero funding could not come at a worse time," he says. "Violence is rampant in our communities, and summer jobs represent violence reduction and public safety. Teen unemployment is at 24 percent and in impoverished communities it’s nearing 50 percent."

Read more
Politics
8:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Approves City Purchasing Colonial Gardens

Colonial Gardens
Credit preservationlouisville.org

The Louisville Metro Council approved an ordinance that will allow the city to purchase the Colonial Gardens property by a 16-3 vote.

Mayor Greg Fischer asked lawmakers in April to allocate $430,000 to buy the historic South End property, which was the site of Louisville's first zoo and is now owned by an out-of-state trust.

For over a decade the structure has been idle and vacant, due in part to its out-of-state owners and historic preservation status.

City lawmakers were initially hesitant about the idea, and sought more information about the viability for private development. But its easy passage means the mayor can now move forward and sell Colonial Gardens to a developer.

"When running for office I promised my constituents I would work to develop the property. I am appreciative of the mayor and his economic development team for being such great partners as we continue to improve south Louisville together," says Councilman David Yates, D-25, who supported the ordinance. "While it has been a bumpy road we are very excited about the commitment to this shared goal."

Read more
Politics
11:51 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Louisville Budget Committee to Hold Public Comment June 13

Louisville City Hall
Credit wikimedia.org

The Louisville Metro Council Budget Committee is reminding residents about their opportunity to comment on Mayor Greg Fischer's proposed 2013-2014 budget.

Lawmakers are holding hearings on the mayor's spending plan throughout the month of June. The have been meeting with Metro department directors and non-profit groups.

The public comment portion is scheduled for June 13 at 6 p.m., and residents are being asked to sign-up at City Hall an hour in advance.

"The budget committee believes it is very important that we hear from the public when it comes to spending tax dollars for the coming year," says Councilwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, who chairs the committee.

Read more
Politics
4:49 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer's Proposed Cuts to Arts, Homeless Grants Criticized

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Leaders from non-profit homeless and arts agencies are criticizing Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s decision to reduce the funding levels for their external agencies.

When the Fischer administration first unveiled its $528 million spending proposal last month, the mayor's office highlighted a 21 percent increase to funding for community ministries.

It also outlined how external agencies would receive more than $1 million in grants at continued levels from last year.

Fischer's decision to fund external agencies comes from three panels made up of Metro Council members and mayoral appointees who recommend expenditures for community ministries and social service agencies.

Those recommendations are in Fischer’s budget proposal without any changes, and citizens who sit on the panels sign agreements to keep the deliberations confidential.

Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition of the Homeless, says the decision-making process is troubling because groups like hers cannot conference with Fischer's panels to make answer important questions.

"I definitely don’t think the process is transparent. There isn’t any way for that committee to ask questions of the groups or for them to answer any issues that might come up during the committee meetings. And there’s also not a process to go back to that committee before the announcements are made," she says.

Read more
Politics
8:21 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Prods Mayor’s Office Over Urban Services

Several Louisville Metro Council members aren't happy with Mayor Greg Fischer for failing to restore previously cut urban services in his new budget proposal.

City chief financial officer Steve Rowland testified at a budget hearing Monday that the city is investing in key areas such as infrastructure and strategic planning.

Fischer had been praised for putting additional funds towards fixing the city's roads, for instance.

But city lawmakers grilled Rowland over why the administration is not using  a projected $3.3 million surplus to bring back two rounds of street cleaning and junk pick-up in the Urban Services District that were cut during the recession.

"It's really hard for me to understand how we continue to implement new programs and spend the taxpayer's dollars when we can't restore services that were in place before merger," says Councilwoman Mary Woolridge, D-3. "It mind boggling to think we can spend $6.4 million to upgrade side walks, roadways and especially bike lanes when we have reduced services in this city. Are we ever going to get money in this budget to restore at least one of these?"

Read more
Politics
3:55 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s Budget Emphasizes Higher Growth, Road Funding

Presenting the Louisville Metro Council and residents with his third budget, Mayor Greg Fischer unveiled a new spending plan which includes additional funding for the city’s roads and infrastructure.

The 2013-14 budget avoids any tax increases, employee layoffs or service cuts due in large part to higher than anticipated revenue and curbs to spending.

Metro Government has a $528 million general fund and has seen significant budget shortfalls in recent years.

In the coming fiscal year officials expect a $3.3 million surplus due to the city's occupational tax rising by about 3 percent, a 2.5 percent increase in the insurance premium tax and business profit taxes are expected to increase by 6 percent. The Fischer administration was also able to cut expenditures by not replacing retiring employees, reducing overtime pay by $1.5 million and lowering the structural imbalance by $15 million.

But one of the chief items the mayor's office is bragging about is putting $6.4 million towards paving roads and creating biking lanes. The city has spent on average $2.5 annually on infrastructure since city-county merger, which is well below the needed $8 to 10 million council members request and others argue the Public Works department requires.

Fischer says the city still has a financial imbalance and pension obligations, adding officials will have to watch every dollar. But the mayor believes an improved economy has allowed for his administration to make needed infrastructure improvements.

"There's been a little bit of relief and we have good control on our expenses with cost reductions as well. And that's going to allow us to make some investments that we haven't been able to make in the last couple of years, in particular with some road improvements and more bike lanes," he says.

Read more

Pages