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Metro Newsroom


Metro Council unanimously passes repeal of telecommunications fee

Friday August 29, 2003

Media Release
For Immediate Release

For Information Contact:
Jennifer F. Brislin
502.574.4137

Patrick H. Neely
502.574.1351

The Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed a repeal of the telecommunications gross revenues fee.

The fee, which was adopted by the Jefferson County Fiscal Court in February 2002, was criticized as being onerous for the telecommunications industry and detrimental to economic development. The repeal will go into effect when it is signed by Mayor Jerry Abramson. The administration and Council have worked together in this effort.

“Broadband is the blacktop of the 21st century,” said Councilwoman Ellen Call, R-26, who has led the Council’s efforts to repeal the fee. “A strong commitment to technology is key to attracting and retaining high-tech jobs. The new Metro Government has taken the first important step to ensure that this mode of communication and transportation thrives in Louisville. We are sending a signal that Louisville is once again open for business.”

The ordinance passed tonight repeals the 1 percent assessment on gross revenue. Instead, a franchise fee would be assessed per linear foot – $1 for single overhead cable and 50 cents for bundled and underground lines. The revenues generated would be used for right-of-way maintenance.

The charge will be annual and applies to wires underground and overhead. A notice of application for a telecom franchise will be distributed to interested companies. On an annual basis, the Department of Public Works will assess each company’s rights-of-way usage to determine the charges.

“Our community should encourage high-tech companies that employ high-skill workers to locate here and build infrastructure that will help our economy grow,” said Councilwoman Julie Raque Adams, R-18. “And, we want to retain those high-tech jobs we currently have.”

Added Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9: “There are many aspects of this action tonight that are significant. The new telecom standards are fair to businesses while being accountable to taxpayers for the care and upkeep of its infrastructure. Equally as important was the collaborative effort, which included the Mayor, and Council bipartisan support from the beginning. This is a clear example of how to do ‘good public policy.’”

In addition to Call, Adams and Ward-Pugh, the sponsors of the ordinance are Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7; Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12; Council President Ron Weston, D-13; Councilman Bob Henderson, D-14; Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16; Councilman Glen Stuckel, R-17; Councilman Hal Heiner, R-19; Councilman Robin Engel, R-22; Councilman James Peden, R-23; Councilwoman Madonna Flood, D-24; and Councilman Doug Hawkins, R-25.

“This was a needed piece of legislation that promotes aggressive growth in the high tech industry,” Weston said. “Its passage is an example of the Council’s commitment to the continued economic well-being of our community.”

Sponsor(s)

Julie Raque Adams (R)  18
Rick Blackwell (D)  12
Ellen Call (R)  26
Kelly Downard (R)  16
Robin Engel (R)  22
Kenneth C. Fleming (R)  7
Madonna Flood (D)  24
Doug Hawkins (R)  25
Hal Heiner (R)  19
Robert Henderson (D)  14
James Peden (R)  23
Glen Stuckel (R)  17
Tina Ward-Pugh (D)  9
Ron Weston (D)  13