Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

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.

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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?"

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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.

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Politics
2:50 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Councilman Ken Fleming Says NBA Study Shows Louisville's 'Poor Business Climate'

Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7,
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The chair of the Republican caucus in the Louisville Metro Council says a study on attracting an NBA franchise shows the city needs to improve its business climate and lift tax burdens.

A summary of the report, which was commissioned by Greater Louisville Inc., found Louisville has an enthusiastic fan base and downtown arena to attract a professional basketball franchise. What the city lacks is a proper corporate base to lease the necessary amount of suites at the KFC Yum Center.

At least one city lawmaker argues that illustrates a larger problem regarding burdensome government taxes, which he claims limit Louisville’s business growth that would attract the NBA and other amenities.

"We are a hamster on an exercise wheel: we work, we work, we work. We get off it, but yet we’re still stuck in the cage of state and government regulation," says Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7. "That’s why this whole state and particularly Louisville can’t do anything because we have politicians that can’t get their head out of the clouds and get down to the brass tacks  of doing things and changing this tax structure."

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Politics
5:37 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Councilwoman Scott to Host Mayor Fischer, GLI Chief on District 'Reality Ride'

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, will host Mayor Greg Fischer and the new CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. on a "reality ride" through southwestern parts District 1.

Since taking office, Scott has held several tours through neighborhoods in west and southwest Louisville with city officials to show them blight, crime and economic issues.

This tour with Fischer and GLI Inc. CEO Craig Richard has been in the works for several weeks.

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Local News
9:40 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw Bypassing Mayoral Run for Now

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw

Republican Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is not interested in a run for Louisville mayor despite encouragement to take on Democratic incumbent Greg Fischer.

In April, Fischer announced his intentions to run for a second term in 2014, and Occupy Louisville member Ike Thacker told WFPL last week he plans to run for mayor as an independent.

No GOP challenger has voiced interest in the race thus far despite observers pointing out that Fischer barely won in 2010.

Some have tossed Holsclaw's name out there as a potential opponent, citing her overall popularity and 16 years in office.

Holsclaw says the GOP needs to field a credible contender and a woman needs to run for mayor, but she is seeking a fifth term as clerk next year.

"Right now, today I’m running for re-election for Jefferson County clerk," she says.

Asked if that means she would re-consider at some point, Holsclaw told WFPL she has the right to change her mind before next year’s filing deadline.

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Politics
10:31 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Noise and Notes: The Decadent and Depraved Politics of Derby Weekend

By now we know who won the 139th Kentucky Derby, but there are still questions about other political horse races.

At this point Republican Mitch McConnell does have one official opponent—Owensboro Democrat Ed Marksberry—who is a little known contender in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Occupy Louisville Member Running for Mayor

Longtime social justice advocate Ike Thacker announced this week he is running for mayor of Louisville as an independent.

Thacker is a local writer and community activist who serves on the boards of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He also served as a spokesman for Occupy Louisville, which held a six month long protest in downtown against U.S. economic policies.

Thacker says he is running to help the poor, and plans to advocate for cuts to military spending as mayor to help invest in low-income parts of the city.

"I simply believe that all 7 billion of us on this planet and the 750,000 or so of us in Louisville are absolutely, equally human regardless of everything. That’s every black or brown person in west or south Louisville just as much as the Ivy League east enders," he says.

Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer announced last month he is seeking re-election.

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Politics
12:09 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Announces Re-Election Bid

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

In a message to supporters, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced he is running for re-election in 2014.

The mayor had avoided the question when asked about seeking a second term in recent weeks, and the timing of the announcement had changed from January to mid-summer.

At the time, there were rumors Fischer was considering a bid for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mitch McConnell, but the mayor later said he was leaning towards running for re-election.

Fischer acknowledged at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the decision to run for a second term was based in part on continued rumors he was thinking about the U.S. Senate race in 2014 or the 2015 gubernatorial contest.

"I felt it was best to go ahead and make my intentions clear that I want to be mayor for a second term. There’s an awful lot of work that still needs to be done. We’ve got good momentum as a city. My family’s excited and has been fully behind me so I felt like now was a good time to make the statement," he says.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Noise and Notes: Anthony Smith's Vision for Safer Louisville Neighborhoods

Safe Neighborhoods Director Anthony Smith
Credit File photo

What makes a Louisville neighborhood safe?

Community activist Anthony Smith hopes to answer that in his new Metro government role aimed at crime prevention.

The city's director of Safe Neighborhoods was created as a result of the violence prevention task force, which submitted a report containing over six dozen recommendations in response to a brazen triple homicide last year.

Since that shooting spree onlookers have awaited to see if the work group's plan will be more than just another study.

Smith is a Louisville native who acknowledges residents are impatient when it comes to previous promises to help improve dangerous areas.

"There's always going to be this idea around are we doing enough as a city and are we moving fast enough," he says. "And I think we've got to understand this is a long-term situation—we didn't get here overnight so it's not something you can just put some programs in place and it's all gone."

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