Several important Metro Council meetings and events took place last week:
Public Safety Committee Meeting
The Committee met with LMPD Chief Conrad last week (and the week before, but they ran out of time while questioning him) about overtime budget issues.
The Council had granted LMPD $1.2 million for officer overtime hours. LMPD went through over $700,000 (now nearly $800,000) by the end of January. Had they continued at that rate they would have run out of overtime money by March.
Some of Conrad’s most disturbing comments about his squandering of our tax dollars:
A bill passed in the legislature that allows Metro Council a better way to deal with Louisville’s 7,000 vacant properties. Vacant properties are a serious issue because they are breeding grounds for crime such as drug transactions, and often become homicide scenes.
When a property becomes vacant, there are taxes, fines, and eventually, liens often placed on the property. A home could be vacant for several years and still rack up fines for issues like not being properly boarded up. So, you end up with properties worth less than the debts owed which means investors won’t buy them and knock them down (or fix them up).
This bill allows the city to take over blighted or deteriorated properties that already have existing liens, and then forgive the liens so that they can be sold (not at a profit). It is on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed.
Important items that will be discussed this week:
Public Safety Committee Mtg
The Committee will be continuing a conversation with Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. The Council has approved funds for them to use on anti-violence programs in the west end. However, they were supposed to develop a plan and then have the Council approve the plan and then approve the funds that would be allocated to different community groups who would carry out the plan. There was some miscommunication and they have already given out some funds without Council approval.
Community Affairs, Housing, Health and Education Committee
The Committee will discuss an ordinance to expand the current smoking ban to add e-cigarettes and hookahs. This is an issue for several hookah bars (which could be put out of business) as well as for retailers of these products who like to allow customers to try the product before buying. This proposed law could put people out of business.