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Metro Newsroom

Metro Council to focus public spotlight on abandoned property owners

Thursday July 1, 2010

For Immediate Release:
Majority Caucus
Louisville Metro Council
Contact: Tony Hyatt 574-4137/ 526-3622

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tax dollars in used to maintain abandoned property in Metro Louisville. The abandoned property owners use the court system and other means to keep from being responsible when it comes to cutting grass or maintaining buildings on their property.

Instead, Metro Government has to handle the problem.
But some members of the Metro Council say “enough is enough”.

“It is time to let the community know who is really responsible for the tall grass and blighted buildings you see in a neighborhood,” said Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin (D-2). “From this day forward, we will make every effort to publish names and make everyone aware of just how much money is owed Metro Government because these people just do not care.”

In a coordinated effort between the Metro Council, IPL and the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office; Shanklin and other Council members propose publishing the names of the abandoned property owners, the address of their properties and the amount of money owed to the city in fines. The information would be published in the media.

The idea is patterned along line of the successful program of the County Attorney involving delinquent Child support payments. A list of those names has been published from time to time in the Louisville Courier Journal.

“We have come through three very tight budget years,” says Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5). “Hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be used to help people in need is instead going to people who no longer care and have decided, let the city take care of my property. No more.”

On Thursday, Shanklin and Hamilton were joined by Council members Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13), President Tom Owen (D-8) and the Council’s newest member Deonte Hollowell (I-6) at an abandoned property on Mansfield Way in the Newburg area.

“Properties like this can be found all over Metro Louisville,” said Welch. “The problem has been finding who is responsible for overgrown grass and letting a house become blight on a neighborhood. This is one way we can fight the neglect.”

The problem of abandoned property first came to the attention of the Metro Council’s Community Affairs Committee several months ago. Inspections, Permits and Licensing officials along with Public Works testified to the cost of maintaining this kind property. Since then, the Jefferson County Attorney’s office has worked with IPL to catalogue abandoned property in all 26 Metro Council Districts. The list includes those who own multiple properties and the total cost of fines that have not been paid to the city.

“There is no need for any new ordinances to correct this problem,” says Shanklin. “We feel by shining the public spotlight on these owners one of two things will happen. They will either pay what they owe to the city or they will clean up the property in question.”

Council members indicated they would cover the cost of publishing the names of owners and properties in an effort to get results.

Barbara Shanklin (D) 2
Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D) 5
Vicki AUbrey Welch (D) 13