Louisville Metro Councilman David Yates http://wfpl.org en Louisville Metro Council Republicans Propose 'Sweeping Changes' to Discretionary Funds http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-metro-council-republicans-propose-sweeping-changes-discretionary-funds <p>Calling past efforts to reform discretionary spending practices watered down, Louisville Metro Council Republicans unveiled a series of "sweeping changes" to neighborhood development funds.</p><p>The proposals come in the wake of Democratic Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's expulsion trial. Shanklin avoided <a href="/post/barbara-shanklin-stay-louisville-metro-council-opposition-calls-decision-embarrassing">removal over charges of alleged misconduct </a>and unethical use of taxpayer money by just one vote.</p><p>Among the changes being touted by GOP members are for the majority of discretionary funds to be used on capital projects rather than towards non-profit groups.</p><p>Each council members receives $75,000 in Neighborhood Development Funds, $100,000 in Capital Infrastructure Funds and $30,000 for office expenses.</p><p>Republicans hold a nine-member minority on the council, but are seeking to cap the neighborhood accounts at $15,000 while allocating the rest for infrastructure needs.</p><p>Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, says past efforts to amend spending rules have been ineffective and too slow, adding that GOP lawmakers believe it’s important to act now in order to restore the public's trust.</p><p>"We decided after what happened over these past two weeks to go ahead and make this more permanent, more accountable and more transparent," he says. "We want to have the strongest confidence that the public has in us as well as making sure that we elevate and solidify the trust has in using taxpayer’s money." Fri, 16 Aug 2013 00:59:39 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6481 at http://wfpl.org Louisville Metro Council Republicans Propose 'Sweeping Changes' to Discretionary Funds Louisville Metro Council Approves City Purchasing Colonial Gardens http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-metro-council-approves-city-purchasing-colonial-gardens <p>The Louisville Metro Council approved an ordinance that will allow the city to purchase the Colonial Gardens property by a 16-3 vote.</p><p>Mayor Greg <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/mayor-greg-fischer-proposes-buying-colonial-gardens-boost-south-end">Fischer asked lawmakers in April to allocate $430,000</a> to buy the historic South End property, which was the site of Louisville's first zoo and is now owned by an out-of-state trust.</p><p>For over a decade the structure has been idle and vacant, due in part to its out-of-state owners and historic preservation status.</p><p>City lawmakers were initially hesitant about the idea, and sought more information about the viability for private development. But its easy passage means the mayor can now move forward and sell Colonial Gardens to a developer.</p><p>"When running for office I promised my constituents I would work to develop the property. I am appreciative of the mayor and his economic development team for being such great partners as we continue to improve south Louisville together," says Councilman David Yates, D-25, who supported the ordinance. "While it has been a bumpy road we are very excited about the commitment to this shared goal." Fri, 07 Jun 2013 00:24:00 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 5681 at http://wfpl.org Louisville Metro Council Approves City Purchasing Colonial Gardens Councilman Rick Blackwell Pulls Support for Insurance Premium Tax Hike http://wfpl.org/post/councilman-rick-blackwell-pulls-support-insurance-premium-tax-hike <p>Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, is pulling his support of an <a href="http://www.wfpl.org/post/council-democrats-propose-tax-increase-pay-housing-trust-fund">ordinance to help pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund by raising the city’s tax on insurance premiums</a>.</p><p>The proposal was introduced by Democratic lawmakers this week, and seeks to increase the tax by one percentage point to raise an estimated $9.7 million.</p><p>Supporters argue going from a 5 to 6 percent rate represents a small increase per month for average residents.</p><p>In an e-mail message sent Feb. 11 to Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9—the bill's chief sponsor—the Jefferson County attorney’s office said it is "unconstitutional" to designate public funding exclusively for affordable housing</p><p>Any new revenue would have to go through the general fund first, and that is unraveling the bill's support.</p><div><p>"I think it’s problematic if it’s not a dedicated source. That’s what people had signed on for," says Blackwell. "It was supposed to be a way to take care of some of the issues in our neighborhoods with the abandoned and foreclosed on homes. And if it’s not dedicated to that I think you’ll have a hard time keeping sponsors and keeping people on board to vote for it."</p><p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 22:00:10 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 3983 at http://wfpl.org Councilman Rick Blackwell Pulls Support for Insurance Premium Tax Hike Metro Council President Jim King Announces Committee Leaders for 2013 http://wfpl.org/post/metro-council-president-jim-king-announces-committee-leaders-2013 <p>Louisville Metro Council President Jim King, D-10, announced Thursday the chairs and vice chairs of the council's committees for 2013.</p><p>Along with the standing committees and two ad hoc panels created last year, King says a new Intergovernmental Committee will be formed.&nbsp;</p><p>Councilman David Yates, D-25, suggested the creation of the new panel, which will work to strengthen the council's relationship and ties with state lawmakers in Frankfort and federal leaders Washington D.C.</p><p>"This&nbsp; will work to build a relationship with our Jefferson County legislative delegation and make recommendations for change to our state governance statutes under (state) law that created merged government," King said in a news release. "I anticipate this committee will also work with the mayor’s office to review other statutes that affect Metro Louisville, such as local option taxes and federal issues as well."</p><p>The committee leaders are as follows:</p><p> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 23:35:47 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 3369 at http://wfpl.org Metro Council President Jim King Announces Committee Leaders for 2013 Fischer Vetoes Landmarks Ordinance http://wfpl.org/post/fischer-vetoes-landmarks-ordinance <p>Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has vetoed the contentious landmarks ordinance a week after the Metro Council passed the bill.</p><div><p>The legislation amended several provisions of the four decade old law, and allowed a majority vote in the council to overturn a decision made by the city&#39;s landmarks commission. Despite stiff opposition from preservationists and outcry from a handful of lawmakers it <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/council-passes-long-debated-landmarks-ordinance">passed the council by a 16-7 vote</a>.</p><p>In a letter to city lawmakers, Fischer agreed with <a href="http://www.wfpl.org/post/preservationist-group-requests-fischer-veto-landmarks-ordinance">preservationists, who argued the ordinance politicized the process</a> and violated the separation of powers between the council and mayor&#39;s office.</p></div><p>&quot;The positive impacts of our current, nationally recognized landmarks law far outweigh the need to change this four decade precedent for our city,&quot; he says. &quot;Additionally, the citizens of Louisville have clearly told me that they fear the landmarks process potentially could be politicized through Metro Council involvement.I cannot support a law that allows a simple majority of the Metro Council to overturn the standards based review of the Landmarks Commission.&quot;</p><p> Thu, 02 Aug 2012 18:55:50 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 1198 at http://wfpl.org Fischer Vetoes Landmarks Ordinance Yates Confident Mayor Won’t Veto Landmarks Bill http://wfpl.org/post/yates-confident-mayor-won-t-veto-landmarks-bill <p>The author of a controversial landmarks ordinance is optimistic that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will not veto the legislation.</p><p>After months of debate, the council voted to change the city&rsquo;s longstanding process to declare historic sites. But a group of preservationists is urging the mayor to reject the ordinance, arguing that it violates the state constitution and encroaches upon the executive branch&rsquo;s authority.</p><p>Councilman David Yates, D-25, who introduced the measure, says the mayor isn&rsquo;t likely to veto the law.</p><p>&quot;If you veto it then you lose the improved legislation. We hopefully don&rsquo;t have to go that route and I don&rsquo;t think that would be his intention. But I can&rsquo;t speak for him,&quot; he says.</p><p> Thu, 02 Aug 2012 00:00:00 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 1192 at http://wfpl.org Johnson Accused of Trying to Buy Colonial Gardens as City Funds Economic Study http://wfpl.org/post/johnson-accused-trying-buy-colonial-gardens-city-funds-economic-study <p>Louisville Metro Councilman David Yates, D-25, is raising ethics concerns about allegations that fellow Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21, made an offer to buy the historic Colonial Gardens property in the midst of a city funded feasibility study.</p><p>The council spent $14,000 to study the economic viability of the Iroquois Park corridor&mdash;the southwest Louisville neighborhood that contains the property. Five council members, including Johnson and Yates, contributed to the grant from their Neighborhood Development Funds for the non-profit Southwest Dream Team to commission the feasibility study.</p><p>In a July 23 letter to Johnson and the county attorney, Yates says constituents have told him that Johnson, who is a real estate agent, is seeking to buy the property and profit from any redevelopment projects.</p><p>&quot;My concern lies with the possible ethical implications of what may appear to be an attempt by you as an elected official to profit from the purchase of said property. Let me be clear, I do not have firsthand knowledge, other than your statement, of any wrong doing; nor am I making any allegations that you acted with malice.&quot;</p><p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 22:08:29 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 1189 at http://wfpl.org Johnson Accused of Trying to Buy Colonial Gardens as City Funds Economic Study Preservationist Group Requests Fischer Veto Landmarks Ordinance http://wfpl.org/post/preservationist-group-requests-fischer-veto-landmarks-ordinance <p>A preservationist group is requesting Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer veto a controversial ordinance that allows the Metro Council to overturn a decision made by the Landmarks Commission.</p><p>After months of debate, the <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/council-passes-long-debated-landmarks-ordinance">council passed the bill by a 16-7 vote last Thursday</a> that changes the city&rsquo;s longstanding process to declare historic sites. Introduced by Councilman David Yates, D-25, who said the commission lacked oversight, lawmakers made a number of changes including a provision that allows a majority of council members to challenge a Landmarks Commission decision and begin a review process.</p><p>Attorney Steve Porter is representing the preservationist group OPEN Louisville, which drafted a letter to Fischer asking him to reject the ordinance.</p><p>He says the council is violating the state constitution and encroaching upon the mayor&rsquo;s authority.</p><p>&quot;If this passes and goes into affect without a veto, landmarks is the only local agency that can be overruled by the Metro Council. And I think this is in violation of the Kentucky revised statuette, which set up a separation executive and legislative power,&quot; he says.</p><p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 18:01:15 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 1163 at http://wfpl.org