Budget Committee Compromises On Firefighter Settlement Plan

by Gabe Bullard

The Louisville Metro Council Budget Committee has approved a plan for financing payments to underpaid firefighters.

The committee spent weeks debating how to make about $35 million in payments in a settlement with the firefighters over miscalculated overtime.  The body was split between issuing bonds to finance the payments and tapping the city’s rainy day fund. Tapping the fund could hurt the city’s credit rating, while bonds accrue interest.

The committee Wednesday night voted to compromise and pay ten million dollars out of reserves while bonding the rest. Vice-chair Kelly Downard says he thinks the measure will pass the full council Thursday.

“It was a unanimous vote and I think that sends to the rest of the council a word that says, ‘We’ve looked at this hard the way you asked us to for about a month and a half and we came up with several scenarios and we’ve chosen one that we’ve agreed on unanimously and I think they’ll go along with that,” he says.

The city’s reserve fund has about $65 million. Downard says he now hopes to work on a plan for restoring the funds that will be spent.