Budget Committee Reviews Firefighter Settlement Payment Plans

by Gabe Bullard

The Budget Committee of the Louisville Metro Council continued its discussion of how to finance the final $30 million in a settlement with underpaid firefighters. The committee Tuesday tabled an ordinance that would have issued bonds to make the payments.

The ordinance would have approved a ten year bond issue. Several committee members said they were uncomfortable adding several million dollars of debt to future city budgets, especially if the national economy doesn’t improve. They asked whether part of the city’s $65 million cash reserve could be used either as a down payment of sorts, or to make bond payments if necessary.

Vice-chair Kelly Downard says he doesn’t want to approve the use of bonds without a clear way to pay them back.

“What I want to see is the plan,” he says. “We have often times done things like this without a plan. If there is a plan and it makes sense, then I’d be in favor of it. If not, I’m just saying, ‘On the face of it, it causes me great concern.'”

The committee will take up the issue again in two weeks.