Metro Council president Jim King sent the Mayor a nice letter this week. It ran six pages and included several dozen smart ideas for saving the Metro money to help address the serious deficit the city faces. Now, your first reaction could logically be that if these are such good ideas for government, why haven’t they been suggested before?
I can’t figure that one out, but I can sure hope that the Mayor adopts every one of the suggestions, starting with the idea of stopping construction on the pedestrian bridge from the Ali Center across the street all the way down to the last one — reminding drivers of city vehicles to turn their cars off rather than letting them idle. King writes that adopting the ideas could save up to $20 million a year.
Certainly the Council has, in the past, wasted a lot of time on goofy ideas — but Doug Hawkins is no longer on the Council, Judy Green’s not running bogus operations to pay her kids and no one’s suggesting a moratorium on gas stations. Now the Council seems to be sensing the city’s budget difficulties and making efforts to rein in spending, amp up revenues and do their jobs.
If you look at them individually, they all really make sense. Cutting ties the Greater Louisville Inc. is a no-brainer. The city has hired new managers who are responsible for economic development, and GLI is a bloated organization that overpaid its previous director. Re-visiting that Jerry Abramson-Downtown Development Center deal, in which the DDC gets all the rent from Slugger Field, is a must-do.
I really like King’s idea of using the Neighborhood Development Funds from Council members to replace money cut from the City’s budget for Social Services. That, and not funding trips for Little League teams and dinners for volunteers at neighborhood events, seems to fulfill the purpose of those funds.
The Council, obviously, wants the overtime abuse to end. Merging the Fire Department and EMS, reducing the number of commanders in the police department? How does this not make sense? There are logical suggestions for deals with the Water Company, PARC, the Zoo, and the Belle of Louisville. And here’s a great one — the Council wants to sell naming rights to city assets, such as new libraries. Maybe they ought to hire Jim Host to sell the name of the new bike path around the city.
And when Van Halen comes to the Yum! Center for a million dollar paycheck? The Council thinks it can collect a tax on that, the same as it does for other vendors who profit from the shows.
I don’t know where all these sensible ideas from Metro Council came from. Maybe the newly sleek Mr. King and his Council cohorts are seeing that their ideas will get heard by the Administration. Let’s hope so.