Save Otter Creek Park – The Friends of Otter Creek Park Blog

Could Metro Council Reopen OCP? by stateofthecommonwealth
December 12, 2008, 6:04 pm
Filed under: Louisville Metro Council, Media, OCP News

The Courier-Journal reported yesterday that members of the Louisville Metro Council are looking into ways to restore cuts made by Mayor Jerry Abramson by using their discretionary funds:

The council members aren’t sure yet how much money they will pull together, or which services to restore.

Each of the 26 council members gets $75,000 in so-called Neighborhood Development Funds every year to spend on programs in his or her district. They also get $100,000 in Capital Infrastructure Funds for building projects, and $30,000 in office funds for supplies or staffing.

Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-3rd District, who is chairwoman of the council’s Budget Committee, suggested the idea in a memo to fellow council members this week. She said there is about $2.7million in unspent Neighborhood Development Funds alone, because any balance in an individual council member’s fund carries over from year to year.

Abramson cut $3.4million in services as part of his budget-balancing plan, including closing library branches, community centers and the city’s only indoor swimming pool one day a week (saving $297,000 collectively); closing Otter Creek Park ($180,000); and reducing grants to arts programs ($511,000).

In her memo, Hamilton said the city would save about $30,000 when council members participate in a four-day unpaid furlough which also was part of Abramson’s plan…

Council member Kelly Downard, R-16th, said council Republicans have pledged at least $100,000 to the cause.

Council members will meet next week to talk about ways they could use the pooled money. Some ideas already discussed are opening library branches on Sundays or opening Otter Creek Park.

But before any of that can happen, council members will need an assurance from the mayor that he will restore whatever cuts they decide to target.

Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Abramson, said the mayor is interested in “hearing what money they can bring to the table and the cuts they’d like to restore.”

A few council Democrats argued against the idea. Councilman Bob Henderson, D-14th, said he thinks council members should just hold on to their cash in case the budget shortfall grows. He also said the money might not be used efficiently if it is pooled without a specific plan for how to use it.

“I’m kind of concerned about propping up these programs only to come along and kick the legs out from under them when we do the budget next year,” Henderson said.

This might be an interesting way to keep Otter Creek Park open. Please contact your Metro Council member and let them know you’re in favor of keeping Otter Creek Park open to the public with their discretionary funds:

Metro Council
601 W. Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 574-1100
Address postal mail to individual Councilmember. – This site links to individual Councilmembers.

(Thanks to Save Otter Creek Park Facebook group member Michael Harper for the tip.)


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