Local News

Mayor, MetroSafe Remind Citizens of Emergency Alerts

In light of recent destruction caused by severe weather and tornadoes in the midwest, Louisville Metro Government officials are reminding citizens the city’s alert systems.

Mayor Greg Fischer is encouraging Louisvillians to purchase weather radios or subscribe to text message alerts from media outlets.

“A text alert could waken you,” Fischer says “but it could also save your life, so please if you hear any of the sirens or get messages tonight take cover.”

Mayor Fischer says his budget for the next fiscal year will include provisions for enhanced emergency alert systems.  The city will use the money to implement technology to get alerts to inform citizens more effectively of unsafe conditions.

“The city is in the midst of purchasing some technology on emergency alert systems that will allow for various alerts, text, email, phone calls, what have you, however,” he says “that system is not yet in place, that came about after the Rubbertown incident, the requests for proposals have been put out and now those are being evaluated.”

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Final Merger 2.0 Public Hearing is Today

Louisville Metro Government’s Merger 2.0 task force will hold its last public hearing tonight.

The panel was assembled earlier this year to assess the first eight years of merger and recommend changes to city operations and to the state law that allowed merger to happen. There have been three public hearings so far to allow residents to sound off on merger. But Mayor Greg Fischer says nearly a decade after the government consolidation, many residents are seeking clarity, rather than suggesting reforms.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

First Merger 2.0 Public Hearing Is Tonight

The first public meeting of Louisville’s Merger 2.0 Task Force is Monday.

The task force was formed earlier this year to study what has and has not worked since the 2003 city-county merger. Two key issues are urban services and fire protection. Currently, residents of the old city pay higher taxes and receive extra services. The panel will likely figure out whether those services could reasonably extended to the suburbs, where they are currently provided by small cities or private companies.

The task force includes several members of urban and suburban fire districts. They will likely discuss whether suburban districts should consider merging to save money. Several districts have already joined together, but others are facing significant budget shortfalls.

The public meeting Monday is meant to give the task force the chance to hear citizen accounts of merger’s successes or failures. It will be held at 7 pm at the Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage. Three more meetings are planned for the following Mondays:

  • 7 p.m. April 11th at Southwest Government Center, 7219 Dixie Highway
  • 7 p.m. April 13th at Central Government Center, 7201 Outer Loop
  • 7 p.m. April 18 at  East Government Center, 200 Juneau Drive
Local News Next Louisville

City and Carbide Officials to Meet With Rubbertown Residents

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will meet with residents of the Rubbertown neighborhood this (Monday) evening.

The meeting comes a week after an explosion and fire at the Carbide Industries plant that killed two workers and closed streets in the area for hours.

Residents have criticized the response to the accident. The plant’s owner did not update a phone line established to warn the neighborhood of any threats or chemical leaks. Further, emergency responders were not immediately using the same radio channel. Communication between fire departments and police was scattered when crews first arrived no the scene.

Mayor’s spokesperson Chris Poynter says all of the involved parties will be on hand to talk with residents at Monday’s meeting.

“The plant manager will be there. The director of MetroSafe, the police chief, people from Lake Dreamland, the mayor, health department. We’ll look at what happened that day, what failures occurred and how we plan to improve that,” he says.

The mayor has already announced plans to purchase a system that will give residents faster updates about industrial accidents. The city has also taken over the Rubbertown phone hotline.

The meeting is at 7 pm at Southwick Community Center.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Mayor Fischer on Industrial Accidents, Layoffs, Whiskey Row

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says layoffs, increases in license fees and several other options are all “on the table” as he drafts the city budget for the next fiscal year.

On WFPL’s State of Affairs Thursday, Fischer discussed: the city budget; Metro Government’s response to recent industrial accidents in Rubbertown and Butchertown; the future of Whiskey Row; and his thoughts on Metro Council discretionary spending. You can listen to the full interview here.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Mayor Fischer to Discuss Response to Rubbertown, Butchertown Accidents

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will appear on WFPL’s State of Affairs today. Fischer will discuss the city’s response to an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Rubbertown and Wednesday’s ammonia leak at the JBS Swift meat packing plant in Butchertown.

Fischer will also discuss the city budget. The mayor is drafting his spending plan now, and with a $22 million shortfall predicted, his office says “everything is on the table” for cuts. That could mean layoffs or changes in city services.

State of Affairs is at 1:06 pm. You can call (502) 814-8255, e-mail or tweet @soatalk to ask the mayor a question on the air.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Merger 2.0 Task Force Named

The 23-member panel tasked with finding ways to improved Louisville’s merged government has been formed.

Mayor Greg Fischer created the task force earlier this year, and said he planned to have representation from local government, law enforcement and urban and suburban fire districts. His appointees include the Mayor of Prospect, the Anchorage and Jeffersontown Fire Chiefs and members of Fischer’s administration.

The panel also includes critics of merger, including State Representative Darryl Owens.

The task force will consider several issues, but two concerns have dominated most merger conversations. The first is whether to expand urban services such as garbage collection outside of the old city boundaries. The other is how to manage cash-strapped suburban fire districts. Many have merged to save money, but the city cannot force a merger on the autonomous districts.

Here is a full list of task force members. The panel is chaired by former Mayor David Armstrong and former County Judge-Executive Rebecca Jackson.

  • David Allgood, citizen at large
  • Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell
  • Ish Burks, citizen at large
  • Charlie Clephas, Greater Louisville Central Labor Council
  • Dolores Delahanty, citizen at large
  • Todd Eberle, the Mayor of Prospect
  • Chief Greg Frederick, Louisville Fire
  • Col. Yvette Gentry, representing Chief Robert White
  • Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton
  • Julie Hardesty, representing the County Attorney
  • Ellen Hesen, chief of staff for Mayor Fischer
  • Councilman Dan Johnson
  • Anchorage Fire Chief Walter Lage
  • Jeffersontown Fire Chief Randy Lawson
  • Kristen Miller, chief of staff for Louisville EMS
  • Codes and Regulations Director Jim Mims
  • State Rep. Darryl Owens
  • Councilman James Peden
  • Ted Pullen, Director of Public Works and Assets
  • Businessman Ben Ruiz
  • Tierra Kavanaugh Turner, Greater Louisville Inc.

The panel will hold public meetings on:

  • 7 p.m. April 4th at the Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage, 18th and Ali
  • 7 p.m. April 11th at Southwest Government Center, 7219 Dixie Highway
  • 7 p.m. April 13th at Central Government Center, 7201 Outer Loop
  • 7 p.m. April 18 at  East Government Center, 200 Juneau Drive
Local News Next Louisville Politics

Fischer Discusses Plan to Bring Aging Care Jobs to Louisville

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Wednesday unveiled his plans to focus the city’s economic development efforts on the lifelong wellness and aging care industries.

Fischer announced a new center to develop businesses that focus on elderly care in Nucleus, University of Louisville’s life sciences campus.

Mayor’s spokesperson Chris Poynter says the initiative is aimed at bringing jobs to Louisville.

“Early in January, Dharma Construction which builds nursing home facilities relocated their corporate headquarters from California to Louisville. The mayor wants to look at how can we attract more businesses, how can we grow local business, how can we also for example go after conventions and industry trade shows,” he says.

A new think tank funded by Signature Healthcare and Nucleus will also be housed at Nucleus’s headquarters on Market Street downtown.

In addition, Signature Healthcare and Nucleus will each contribute $1.5 million to an investment fund to assist innovation in the wellness and aging care industry.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Final Public Budget Meeting Is Saturday

The public budget hearings in Louisville end Saturday.

The last of five open meetings on the spending plan for the next fiscal year will be held at the Central Government Center.

The meetings were meant to give citizens a chance to weigh in on the budget before the mayor finishes drafting it. Mayor’s spokesperson Chris Poynter says he was hoping to hear about wasteful spending that could be cut, but instead, most people suggested the city spend more money.

“Oh yeah, by far. Collectively, we’ve probably had 300 people at the various budget hearings and probably 98% of them have been asking for money instead of suggesting ways to reduce the budget,” he says.

The city also heard from a number of social service and arts groups that receive money from the city.

“What we were hoping to do was engage them earlier in the process, as opposed to waiting until the budget is already put together. So in that regard, it’s definitely been a success,” says Poynter.

The grants to external agencies are often the most revised items in the city budget during the council’s hearings in June. Fischer will present his budget to the council in late May.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

“Everything Is on the Table” as Fischer Prepares Tight Budget

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s first city budget may be one of the leanest yet. Fischer is facing a roughly $20 million shortfall with uncertain growth.

The budget for the next fiscal year will depend largely on revenue growth predictions, which will likely be complete in April, once the latest tax receipts are compiled.

Previous budgets with comparable shortfalls have led to furloughs and layoffs for city employees. Mayor’s spokesperson Chris Poynter says that’s possible again for the next fiscal year.

“With the budget reductions that we’ve been through—that the city’s been through thus far—we’re pretty much now cutting into the bone. It’ll be the mayor’s goal to not have any layoffs, but everything’s on the table,” he says.

Fischer will present his budget to the Metro Council in late May. The body will have until the end of June to revise and approve it.