Metro Council cuts some services to balance budget - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro Council cuts some services to balance budget

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Council passed a new $650 million budget, but balancing that budget came with a cost.

When Metro Council cut the controversial natural gas franchise fee from 3-percent to 2-percent, it left a nearly $2 million hole in the budget; a hole filled -- in part -- by cutting some social services.

The Family Health Centers is a non-profit that provides charity services from seven Louisville clinics.

The council cut $300,000 out of its $1.8 million request. That's about 10 percent of its total budget.

Center officials declined an interview, instead releasing a statement expressing disappointment.

Director Bill Wagner says FHC does not plan to reduce staff or cut services, adding "We'll find a way to make it work."

Dist. 16 Councilman Kelly Downard says something had to be done to pay for more police officers.

"I think there's a little bit of hurt everywhere, a little bit of pain everywhere. But there was also a lotof excitementt. There are many things that are so needed that we have an opportunity to do this year," he said.

The council also cut $100-thousand from its contribution to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program - LIHEAP.

Social service workers say the cuts send a troubling message.

"I think it sends a message that we're not a very compassionate city. To put it bluntly," said Anne Smith of Ministries United of South Central Louisville.

"A lot things had to be cut. Those are hard decisions," said Downard.

But some council members who opposed the budget say the cuts could have been made elsewhere.

Ken Fleming says the city could have saved money by cutting back on some of new hires the mayor requested.

"Why are we going through and funding those particular functions when we can take that money and reallocate it to human needs?" asked Downard.

The mayor has agreed to delay filling some positions.

In a statement, he called the budget "realistic" and praised the council, saying, "We have moved Louisville forward."

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