Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will recommend across-the-board cuts when he presents his budget proposal to Metro Council on Thursday afternoon.

On the same day Fischer announced the city had received a national award for government efficiency, he told WDRB News there simply is not enough waste to cover a $35 million budget hole.

“The cuts are going to be widespread across all departments and across the entire city, unfortunately," Fischer said. "These are not cuts that I wanted to do."

The budget crisis is primarily the result of spiraling pension costs.

Metro Council voted down Fischer’s recommendation to raise the tax on insurance premiums to help cover the deficit.

Fischer has already taken some steps, including canceling an LMPD cadet class, closing the four outdoor public pools and changing employee health insurance.

He has also said he will look at closing some fire stations and reducing EMS service.

Cuts could also impact services such as the public libraries, community centers and the Louisville Zoo.

“When it's $35 million, you have to cut, and, unfortunately, 70 percent of our budget is made up of people that provide services,” Fischer said

Metro Council Budget Chairman Bill Hollander said he does not believe Fischer is crying wolf.

“I don't think there can be any sacred cows,” Hollander said. “I think there will be cuts in services that the public will see.”

Some council members have told WDRB News that police, fire and EMS should be protected from major cuts. But Hollander said does not see how that is possible when public protection makes up so much of the budget.

“If you really said those are public safety agencies, and we're not going to cut them, you'd be talking about really devastating cuts to the rest of the budget,” Hollander said.

He said the goal is to make the cuts as “acceptable to the public” as possible.

“It's a time when the council and the mayor should come together to do the best job we can with what we have,” Hollander said.

Council must approve the final budget by July 1.

Hollander said the public has submitted more than 1,000 budget recommendations online. He said three public hearings on the budget are scheduled for 6:15 p.m. May 7 and 6 p.m. May 16 and May 20.

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I cover a range of stories for WDRB, but really enjoy tracking what's going on at our State Capitol. I grew up on military bases all over the world, but am a Kentuckian at heart. I'm an EKU alum, and have lived in Louisville for 30 years.