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Alternative to Louisville budget cuts, revenue streams introduced

Could these alternative proposals work?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Is a compromise in the works? The Democratic members of Louisville's Metro Council introduced a new proposal that would still increase your taxes but also cut city services.

"Really map out hopefully what becomes a path forward for us to talk from that balances an appropriate level of revenue with an appropriate level of cuts,"  Metro Councilman Markus Winkler said.

He is leading the charge that would increase premium tax rates like life, home and marine from 5 to 10 percent over four years instead of the mayor's proposal of 15 percent during the same time.

While Winkler is proposing a tax increase, he's also pushing for city cuts that include trimming salaries - or implementing furloughs.

"What we tried to put forth is a level of cuts that starts first and foremost at the top and with ourselves," he explained.

Specifically, on the city side, Winkler proposes to:

  • Hiring freeze for all non-revenue producing positions and non-essential spending
  • Beginning July, 5% salary cut or furloughs for all employees earning over $90K annually
  • Cut every Metro Council NDF or Cost Center account by $20K
  • Increase Metro employee health insurance premiums
  • Eliminate COLAs for FY 20
  • Eliminate all take home vehicles (with minimal public safety exemptions)
  • Move USD to alternating weekly yard waste and recycling
  • No yard waste collection in winter
  • Move the Belle of Louisville to private funding
  • Return Youth Detention Services responsibility to the Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Eliminate funding for the Living Room
  • Eliminate capital budget spending on bike lanes for at least two years
  • Reduce budgets in every department, focusing on management and communications positions
  • Eliminate suburban street sweeping
  • Reduce EMS service by one ambulance in areas where suburban districts provide service
  • Reduce /eliminate Council designated funds

Some council members seem to support the idea of the cuts, but there isn't a consensus as to how deep the cuts should be. Republican Kevin Kramer is against any tax increases and wants to see the mayor's budget proposal first.

"The mayor should be on notice that we are expecting him to present a budget in April that we can then go through the things we do every year to determine if this is the best use of metro funds," Kramer said.

Contact reporter Robert Bradfield at rbradfield@whas11.com.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.