Budget key points

April 25, 2019

Background:

  • City is facing a $35 million shortfall in FY2020, driven largely by the impact of a state pension obligation that is growing by about 12 percent a year.
  • Mayor proposed a revenue plan to avoid drastic cuts; Metro Council rejected that plan.
  • Despite pension challenge, our city has great momentum: 80,000 new jobs, 2700 new businesses, $13 billion in capital.
  • Cuts are all the more difficult to absorb because the city is already very lean and efficient.
  • Nearly every department will see cuts, including Mayor’s office and Metro Council. These are not cuts the Mayor wants to make.
  • Without new revenue, additional budget cuts will be needed in the coming years. 

Specifics:

  • The $623 million general fund budget anticipates a revenue growth rate of 2.9 percent, which is dwarfed by the size of the increased pension cost - $20 million higher than in 2018.
  • Forced to eliminate as many as 312 Metro Government positions, including about 100 layoffs. This includes full time, part time and seasonal workers; union and non-union.
  • Most health insurance policies for Metro employees will see an increase of 3 percent on premiums and an increase on deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. Also proposing a tiered approach to scaling back the cost of living adjustments to non-union employees’ salaries.
  • Public safety took smaller percentage cut than most. Canceled June recruit class; will have two others. Bringing SRO officers back to the streets. Canceling ShotSpotter.
  • Budget continues funding for OSHN, but 18 percent reduction.
  • Budget cuts Living Room funding but includes $1 million for homeless services, $1.1 million for community ministries, $5 million for affordable housing. Down $7 million from FY2019.
  • All community centers stay open for the coming year. Closing Charmoli Neighborhood Place and Middletown Library, both located in leased space. Also closing Fern Creek Library, also in leased space. Ending the leases saves us $1 million a year. Northeast Regional Library, opening soon, is about four miles from Middletown. Fern Creek is less than five miles from the Jeffersontown Library and less than six from South Central Regional Library.
  • Hours being cut at library branches, but Sunday hours kept.
  • Funds TECH TALENT and SummerWorks. But reduces overall funding for economic development and agencies that keep the city clean and green.
  • Paving budget cut from $18.2 million to $15.2 million.
  • Smallest capital budget proposed in six years, mainly focused on maintenance. Will be stretched to keep up with all the potholes, broken sidewalks and basic paving projects that need to be addressed.
  • State law doesn’t allow the Mayor to take a pay cut but he’s donating 20 percent of his salary to SummerWorks.
  • Budget includes an assumption that Metro Council will increase property tax revenue by the allowable 4 percent. (Average impact in the press release.) That will generate about $1.2 million.