Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell http://wfpl.org en 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 New Ordinance Aims to Hold Banks Responsible for Vacant Properties http://wfpl.org/post/new-ordinance-aims-hold-banks-responsible-vacant-properties <p>City leaders plan to create a new registry to help the city better track vacant properties and ensure they're maintained.</p><p>The city has over 16,000 abandoned properties. In some neighborhoods, up to a third of the houses are vacant. A proposed ordinance would create a city registry to track foreclosed properties and levy fines on banks that are not following regulations. Whenever banks foreclose on a home, they'll be required to give the city notice and information on who is responsible for maintaining the property.&nbsp;</p><p>“Generally, once the banks acknowledge that they are responsible for the properties they do a pretty good job of maintaining the properties. The ones where we have a lot of issues are when it’s in this no man’s land where we’re still fining and still citing a property owner who has already walked away from the property,” says Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, who is sponsoring the ordinance.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 16 Oct 2012 15:15:26 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 2035 at http://wfpl.org New Ordinance Aims to Hold Banks Responsible for Vacant Properties