Despite Louisville's budget 'challenges,' it's too early for talk of layoffs, mayor says

01/25/2011 07:55 PM

Louisville faces between $30 million and $40 million in extra budget “challenges” of settlements with city firefighters and rising pension costs, said new Mayor Greg Fischer, who is preparing for his first state of the city address on Thursday.

Those challenges include making payments on a $45 million settlement the city reached with firefighters in 2009 over back pay and a separate $17.6 million lawsuit brought by retired firefighters who say they, too, are owed back pay.

At the same time, the city’s share of payments for retired city workers’ pensions is going up $6 million.

“We’ll have to figure that out. But we’re hoping that the economy will start growing,” Fischer said on Tuesday’s Pure Politics.

Fischer said “it’s way too early” to say whether layoffs of any of the 5,500 city employees are likely.

He also discussed potential restructuring of city departments.

“There will be changes. I’m not sure whether they will be significant or small,” he said.

And he said he will stick to his pledge to create a director of sustainability in his administration within the year.

The sustainability job became a campaign issue in the waning days of the 2010 election after independent candidate for mayor Jackie Green dropped out of the race. Green said he received assurances from Fischer’s camp that he would have “significant input” in the creation of that sustainability job. (See Green’s interview on that from Oct. 27).

- Ryan Alessi

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