Abramson Says Transition Will Be Smooth, Anticipates Urban Services Extension

by Gabe Bullard on December 27, 2010

Since merger, Louisville’s way of managing services such as garbage collection has been a frequent target of criticism. But outgoing Mayor Jerry Abramson says service delivery could change, if Louisvillians decide they want it to.

The Urban Services District is made up of the old City of Louisville. Residents of that area pay an extra tax to receive urban services. In the rest of Louisville, smaller governments or private contractors provide the services.

Abramson says an expansion of urban services is likely inevitable, and he cites Lexington as an example.

“They have, in fact, had an expansion of the Urban Services District to several of the areas contiguous to the Urban Services District,” he says. “It’s simply a matter of putting a pencil to it.”

Abramson says if the city can provide the services for less, residents may petition Metro Government to opt into the services. The Metro Council nearly formed a committee to explore an extension of services, but decided to wait until Mayor-elect Fischer took office.

Fischer will be sworn in next week, and Abramson expects the following months to go smoothly.

Fischer comes from the private sector and has not held public office before. Abramson  says that will lead to changes, but the day to day operations of the city will not likely be affected immediately. Over time, he says, Fischer will develop his own way of managing the city.

“It takes time to understand,” he says. “It takes time to become a leader from being a manager. We all probably start off as a manager just to make sure we’re managing the government properly. We’ve got it in a structure that’s comfortable for us.”

Abramson says Fischer will inherit a budget that is likely to need little adjustment, as receipts have been in line with predictions so far. However, Fischer will likely have to find millions of dollars to pay for higher pension costs and a settlement with retired firefighters who were underpaid while working for the old city of Louisville.

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