Fischer Releases First Annual Citizens Report
After almost a year in office, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has released a "Report to Citizens" outlining the top challenges and accomplishments in 2011, and listing his administration’s key goals for next year.The 3-page report mentions a number of achievements under Fischer's leadership such as re-opening libraries on Sunday, creating an emergency system to better alert residents andfinding new developers for the historic Whiskey Row buildings in downtown.Chief among the administration's highlights is a new partnership with the city of Lexington dubbed the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement, which is setup to grow advanced manufacturing jobs and develop a super region.During the campaign, Fischer ran on a theme of "jobs, jobs, jobs" and the report notes that nearly 4,000 new Louisville jobs have been created this past year with new investment of approximately $730 million."From late-winter flooding, to a bridge closing to the lingering recession, it’s been a year of challenges and some surprises," Fischer said in a news release. "Yet, we’ve pulled together as a team, met the challenges head on and scored some solid successes."Other accomplishments listed, however, were either in the works before the mayor was sworn-in or go well beyond the purview of his office.For example, cutting $1.2 billion from the Ohio River Bridges Project was a decision that was largely made and worked out by the governors of Indiana and Kentucky. And the 55,000 Degrees Initiative was launched during former Mayor Jerry Abramson's tenure.But Fischer highlights that his administration has been "taking care of business" by tying up loose ends Abramson left behind such as settling labor disputes with public safety employees, audits of Metro agencies and overhauling the Metropolitan Sewer District.Among the most pressing challenges and goals the mayor's office lists for 2012 is addressing the significant structural imbalance in the city budget. During his first budget proposal, the mayor warned residents about the deficits and told certain social service and arts groups to develop a "plan B" for funding.The administration says those fiscal challenges are threatening Louisville with pension, benefit and overtime costs rising faster than revenue.