The final accounting of which city services and positions will be cut is set to be decided this week, as the Metro Council votes Tuesday on its version of the budget that will go into effect on July 1.
After it passes, it will be up to Mayor Greg Fischer to sign it. The version the budget committee approved last week maintains the more than $25 million in cuts needed to offset rising employee pension and healthcare costs, but redistributes them compared to Fischer’s proposal from late April.
In March, The Council voted down a compromise tax hike plan that would have required less cutting.
The biggest change between Fischer’s budget and the version approved last week by the budget committee is the recommended turnover of Youth Detention Services to the state after Dec. 31. This was a move Fischer had originally floated but backed off from in his formal budget proposal.
Budget chair Bill Hollander (D-9) acknowledged the move would force incarcerated children to facilities hours away from Louisville, a reality experts say would create a “great burden” for their families.
But he said that, without new revenue, this would not be the last difficult decision city leaders have to make.
“We are facing a multi-year, pension-driven budget problem,” he said. “The pensions will rise again next year by well over $10 million.”
Hollander pointed out that many of the cuts proposed by the mayor remain in place.
“We will still have fewer police officers on our streets, we will still have fewer fire fighters,” as well as delayed snow removal and filling of potholes, he said.
While it is possible to introduce amendments to the budget at the full Council meeting, it is not common practice, Hollander told WFPL ahead of the committee vote.
Reporter Ryan Van Velzer contributed to this report.