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Metro Council members propose alternatives to mayor Fischer's tax increase

Could there be a solution? One councilmember says he may have something that may keep public safety intact while also not raising taxes.

Police, fire, EMS - even community program and the Belle of Louisville. They are all on the list for massive city cutback or closings proposed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

"What I want the public to understand is it's the mayor that's threatening to cancel, to close, to cut," said Republican Councilman Kevin Kramer.

He is taking issue with the way Mayor Fischer is handling his proposed tax increases to offset pension costs and other budget obligations.

"No one on the council side of the street has suggested closing a golf course, or closing a park," he told WHAS11.

Kramer, like many of his Republican colleagues, believes Mayor Fischer is using scare tactics to get people to buy into his plan for insurance premium tax increases to avoid what the mayor calls 'devastating cuts' to nearly every city department.

"He is trying to get as much attention as he can because he's priority includes programs that he doesn't want to see trimmed back," Councilman Kramer said.

Kramer says he's working with members from both parties to find a solution that would get the city through next fiscal year without having to raise taxes. He's suggesting looking at trimming the budgets of new city programs that were created within the last two years, ending/scaling back funds the city has historically paid programs for years and reducing the budgets of some city departments to generate savings.

"You've scared this public into thinking that without taxes, all these horrible, bad things are going to happen. Here's a list of things you can choose from that you may or may not cut," Kramer said of his proposal to the mayor.

For the second time in four days, budget committee members heard from concerned constituents Monday night about the effects the cuts and tax increases would do to them and their communities. But, Kramer wants to take a step back and not rush any decisions.

"He wants us to solve a four-year problem in six weeks and he wants the council to solve a four-year problem in six weeks. I just think that is irresponsible," Kramer said of the mayor's plan.

The following is a statement from Jean Porter, with the mayor's office:

"Facing a $35 million shortfall this year and $65 million by 2023, the Mayor and his team have laid out potential cuts so that everyone sees clearly what is at stake without new revenue. Instead of devastating cuts, the mayor is asking Metro Council to approve a revenue increase, to invest in our city and our citizens. If Councilman Kramer has a different proposal, we’d be happy to review it."

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