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Council GOP Volunteer for City Furloughs, Return Portion of Office Funds

Each member of the Louisville Metro Council’s Republican caucus will participate in the mayor's furlough program to help fill the $22.5 million budget shortfall.A week ago, Council President Jim King, D-10, asked fellow members and their staffs to join the voluntary program, which is mandatory for all non-union Metro employees making more than $70,000 a year. The cost-saving measure is voluntary for city workers below that threshold.The GOP caucus has the only two employees at City Hall who make over $70,000 annually.Asked if the caucus director and financial adviser will also participate, Republican Caucus Chairman Ken Fleming, R-7, told WFPL both will take the full five day furlough the mayor has proposed.Last week, many council Democrats responded to the call, saying it was important for elected officials to help fill the deficit.  There are still a handful of Democratic lawmakers who haven't publicly announced if they're participating and those who are differ on whether their legislative aides will also take part in the furloughs.The 9-member GOP caucus plans to reimburse Metro Government for up to five days of work over the course of the next fiscal year, however, their aides will have the option of taking between one and five unpaid days.In addition to the furloughs, council Republicans also announced they are returning 37 percent of unused discretionary  funds from their office accounts to the city at the end of this fiscal year.City lawmakers are allotted $30,000 in office funds in addition to the $75,000 in Neighborhood Development Funds and $100,000 in Capitol Infrastructure Funds that they are allowed to transfer to the lower accounts.Councilman Fleming says the coupled savings from the voluntary furloughs and returned office funds will be over $100,000."I think it does send a message that there are individuals on this council that taxpayers can be and should be proud of in terms of managing their money in the most efficient and effective way," he says. "By having things set up like this they know we're being very prudent and mindful of how we spend their tax dollars. And we show it by giving the money back to the general fund to help shore up the budget."

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