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Local News

Neighborhoods Dept. Bears Heavy Budget Cuts Load

When Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson announced his budget cuts this week, one of the hardest-hit departments was the Department of Neighborhoods.

Mayor Abramson managed to fill a 20-million dollar budget gap without layoffs.

“As a result, departments like Neighborhoods, departments like the Finance department; they’re the ones that are taking the largest percentage cuts,” says Abramson.

While other city departments are dealing with one or two percent cuts, The Department of Neighborhoods was slashed ten-percent.

“A number of the cuts in that ten-percent are coming from personnel positions,” says Phil Miller, the Mayor’s liaison to Neighborhoods.

 

Three positions that were empty are now eliminated and two positions with Brightside, the city’s beautification program, are now going to be paid for by their donors instead of the city. A student art program and city’s annual New Year’s Eve party are also gone.

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Local News

Deadline for Kentucky Agencies to Submit Budget Cuts is Today

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

It’s D-Day for state agencies in Kentucky, which must report how they intend to reduce their budgets by four-percent. Proposed cuts could affect the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs Director Les Beavers sees no way to reduce his agency’s budget by four-percent without furloughs or layoffs. And he fears how that will affect three state nursing homes housing five-hundred Kentucky veterans.

“It’s a hard area where you can reduce staff,” says Beavers, “and obviously, to save money, most often it deals with the amount of staff you have onboard.”

Beavers says all effort will be made to protect direct caregivers, like nurses, but administrative and support staff cuts are likely unavoidable. Governor Beshear, who’s dealing with a projected 456-million dollar revenue shortfall this fiscal year, wants state agencies and universities to tell him today how they intend to reduce spending by four-percent. The governor will use agency proposals to craft a plan for addressing the shortfall.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

City Cuts Funding for Arts Groups

Many arts organizations are among those affected by the budget cuts announced today by Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has details.

To help close a $20 million shortfall in the city budget, Mayor Abramson is cutting city contributions to 26 arts groups. The groups will receive 50 percent of the funding that the city had planned to give for the current fiscal year.

The Fund for the Arts received the largest hit, with a funding cut of $112,500.

The Kentucky Opera will receive half of the $55,000 it was promised, says the organization’s general director David Roth.

“Any further changes are going to require structural changes to programming on our subscription series as well as our educational outreach,” Roth says.

Many local arts groups have faced sizable declines in support from the city since Louisville merged with Jefferson County in 2003.

Also on this list are Stage One and Broadway at Iroquois, which recently changed its name from Music Theatre Louisville. Together, the two will get $12,500 less than promised.

Peter Holloway is the producing artistic director for both organizations.

“In tough economic times, every little bit hurts so, you don’t want to take a $10 or $15,000 hit on your fundraising,” Halloway says.

Holloway says Broadway at Iroquois decided last week to move from its home at Iroquois Theater to the Kentucky Center to reduce expenses.

Actors Theatre of Louisville had budgeted much of the $70,000 it was to receive for educational programs. The theater is looking to reduce costs now that it will receive only half of that.

Jennifer Bielstein is Actors Theatre’s managing director.

“I think all of the arts organizations will have to look at reduced programming, with doing fewer productions or fewer services than they typically offer,” Bielstein says.

Here is a complete list of the cuts.
Actors Theatre of Louisville, Inc. — $70,000 reduced to $35,000
Arts Council of Louisville, Inc. — $22,500 reduced to $11,250
Bunbury Reperetory Theatre Company — $18,000 reduced to $9,000
Creative Diversity Studio, Inc. — $5,000 reduced to $2,500
Fund for the Arts, Inc. — $225,000 reduced to $112,500
Historic Homes Foundation, Inc. — $3,000 reduced to $1,500
J.B. Speed Art Museum — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
Kentucky Center for the Arts Endowment Fund, Inc. — $15,000 reduced to $7,500
Kentucky Dance Council, Inc. — $48,750 reduced to $24,375
Kentucky Opera Association, Inc. — $55,000 reduced to $27,500
Kentucky Public Radio, Inc. — $37,500 reduced to $18,750
Kentucky Shakespears Festival, Inc. — $40,000 reduced to $20,000
Kentucky Theater Project, Inc. — $13,000 reduced to $6,500
The Louisville Orchestra, Inc., — $220,000 reduced to $110,000
Louisville Youth Choir, Inc. — $5,000 reduced to $2,500
Louisville Youth Orchestra — $2,000 reduced to $1,000
Music Theatre of Louisville, Inc. — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
Owsley Brown Frazier Historical Arms Museum Foundation, Inc. — $25,000 reduced to $12,500
Partnership for Creative Economies, Inc. — $120,000 reduced to $60,000
Portland Museum, Inc. — $20,000 reduced to $10,000
Stage One: The Louisville Children’s Theatre, Inc. — $15,000 reduced to $7,500
Walden Theatre Corporation — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
West Louisville Talent Education Center, Inc. — $6,000 reduced to $3,000
Neighborhood House — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
International Order of E.A.R.S — $3,000 reduced to $1,500
River City Drum Corps. — $15,000 reduced to $7,500

Total: $1,023,750 was originally pledged. It has been reduced to $511,875.

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Local News

Louisville FOP Considers Cost-Cutting Options

Louisville’s police union is mulling over some concessions proposed by Metro Government to help close a $20 million city budget shortfall.

The city is offering the Fraternal Order of Police several options aimed at cutting about $1 million from the budget.

They include charging officers more for the use of their take-home cruisers, foregoing pay raises or cutting vacation time.

Mayor Jerry Abramson says all city workers are being asked to tighten their belts.

“When you’re talking about 60 percent of your budget coming from police, fire, EMS and corrections, they’ve got to be a significant participant to balance the budget,”  Abramson said.

Louisville FOP President John McGuire says he’s worried that a change in the vehicle policy will reduce police presence and compromise safety.

“That will lead to fewer officers being on the street in an off-duty capacity, and that’s major,”  McGuire said.

An emergency FOP meeting was scheduled for Monday afternoon to discuss the options.

The mayor recently announced several budget cutting measures, including three furlough days, and says more actions will be announced after Thanksgiving.

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Local News

Kentucky Schools Cut 975 Positions

State budget cuts have forced Kentucky public schools to eliminate nearly 1,000 positions.

Eighty-nine of the state’s 174 districts have cut a total of 975 jobs, 455 of which are classified positions, which is the status given to teachers.

Not all of the eliminated jobs were filled at the time of the cuts, but Kentucky School Boards Association spokesperson Brad Hughes says any reductions in staff will ultimately hinder educational progress.

“If you’re reducing the number of opportunities that children have for say a calculus class, or tougher classes out there, if you’re reducing the amount of one on one time between students and teachers or if you’re eliminating positions like teachers’ aides to work with students you’re going to have an impact on learning,” says Hughes.

Parts of Kentucky’s education budget remained flat this year while other line items were slashed.