Local News

New Report Shows Inefficiencies in 2003 Merger

An outside consulting firm made recommendations to Louisville’s Merger 2.0 Task Force subcommittee on data and communications on Thursday, and some of the recommendations have been controversial in the county.

The subcommittee reviewed the report from Public Works, LLC. Public Works, which was paid through a $30,000 grant to complete 100 hours research for Metro Government.  In the end, the consulting firm recommended that Louisville Metro, again, combines Fire and EMS.

After researching the top 20 most populated cities’ fire and EMS systems, 14 have a combined system, said Marion Reitz with Public Works, LLC. Reitz said that the “bottom line” was that the separate operations don’t seem as cost efficient.

Jeffersontown Fire Chief Randy Lawson attended the meeting. He’s concerned that the report doesn’t reflect the opinions his subcommittee of Fire and EMS, he said. But this report is just one tool that both subcommittees and the final Task Force can use to make recommendation, said Hesen.

“These are all pieces of information that we will be sharing with the other subcommittees and the full task force,” said chair of the subcommittee Ellen Hesen.

The report also explored the idea of creating Metro Government staff that could write federal and state grants for projects most counties will already complete but not apply for. It also recommends reviewing the counties solid waste services. Those in the Urban Services District pay around $5 less than 15 of the reported suburban districts’ average.

The subcommittee also suggested better record keeping and data transparency and said the county may want to consider using the Jefferson County League of Cities to hold more consistent data for all 83 Jefferson County cities.

The target date is Sept. 16 for the Task Force to hear subcommittee recommendations. It will then be the responsible for making its final recommendations to Mayor Greg Fischer.

Fischer will need to write any new legislation by the end of the year.

Click here to see a copy of the report.

Click here to see more information on Metro Fire and EMS.

Local News

Louisville Officials Hope To Fight False Fire Alarms

Louisville’s urban and suburban fire departments are trying to stop the number of false alarm calls.

The departments as well as alarm companies and the mayor’s office are launching an education campaign aimed at promoting alarm system maintenance. Mayor Jerry Abramson says about a fourth of all fire calls are to false alarms, and each one costs the city money.

“It’s estimated that false alarms cost the fire service throughout this community—all 18 suburban fire departments as well as the urban department—between one million and three million dollars annually as a result of false alarms,” he says.

There is not currently any penalty for false fire alarm calls. Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick says if false alarms don’t decrease, a fee could be imposed.

“We have statistics going back many years looking at the number of false alarms that we make. We’re going to continue to look at those as we work through this education campaign and at a later date, we may entertain looking at either a fine or a commitment to repair and maintain the system,” he says.

There is a fee for false burglar alarm calls made to the police department.