Despite pressure from Mayor Greg Fischer, the Louisville Metro Council voted to delay a $10.8 million penalty assessed by the Kentucky Employee Retirement System for not paying into the system during the firefighter overtime lawsuit.
The figure is a compromise between the Fischer administration and state pension officials stemming from a lawsuit filed by current and former firefighters over underpaid in overtime for years.
In the ordinance, the mayor pays the pension using $6.94 million from the rainy day fund, $3.46 million from the vehicle and equipment-replacement fund, another $400,000 from the fire-vehicle and equipment replacement fund and $60,800 from unspent bond proceeds.
But city lawmakers have asked for a 30-day extension to further review the ordinance.
Over the past several days some council members have suggested the city should settle the matter in court while others have questioned if the city owes the money at all, pointing out Metro officials have met all previous requirements set by the pension officials.
In a statement, Council President Jim King, D-10, said city lawmakers have serious questions and the ordinance is being sent back to the Budget Committee next week.
“There are some very genuine concerns about this proposed ordinance,” he says. “The taxpayers of Metro Louisville need to be reassured that we are spending this money wisely and we also have some questions that need to be addressed by the Kentucky Employee Retirement System. So it is our hope another week of study will put this council in a better position to understand the ramifications of passing this ordinance.”
The budget panel will meet March 27 to discuss the payment and the full council will hold a special meeting on March 29 to take action on the ordinance.