Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell

Politics
5:19 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Metro Employee Minimum Wage Bill Expected to Have Little Effect on Local Movement

Credit Creative Commons

An ordinance raising the minimum wage for city employees sailed through the Louisville Metro Council last week without much fanfare or opposition. 

Though the ordinance affects only five city workers, some see it as significant in a larger citywide minimum-wage push.

The legislation sponsored by Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, will increase the hourly pay of the city's approximately 5,500 full-time employees to $10.10.

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Politics
5:00 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Councilman Rick Blackwell Pulls Support for Insurance Premium Tax Hike

Democratic Councilman Rick Blackwell
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, is pulling his support of an ordinance to help pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund by raising the city’s tax on insurance premiums.

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.

Supporters argue going from a 5 to 6 percent rate represents a small increase per month for average residents.

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

Any new revenue would have to go through the general fund first, and that is unraveling the bill's support.

"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."

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Politics
11:15 am
Tue October 16, 2012

New Ordinance Aims to Hold Banks Responsible for Vacant Properties

Foreclosed properties near the site of Tuesday's announcement of the new ordinance.
MetroMapper

City leaders plan to create a new registry to help the city better track vacant properties and ensure they're maintained.

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. 

“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. 

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