Special Olympics Kentucky suing Metro Government - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Special Olympics Kentucky suing Metro Government

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Councilwoman Vicki Welch Councilwoman Vicki Welch
Trish Mazzoni Trish Mazzoni
A donation bin for Special Olympics Kentucky A donation bin for Special Olympics Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Special Olympics Kentucky is suing Louisville Metro Government claiming the Metro Council illegally passed a donation bin ordinance that could cost the non-profit major money it desperately needs.

The suit asks for an injunction to keep the ordinance from taking effect February 22.

It all began after some Metro Council members had complaints about donation bins when they started popping up across Louisville in 2012.  Part of the problem?  People started dropping off items that weren't accepted like pieces of furniture. So, Metro Council passed a donation bin ordinance in December putting serious restrictions on them.

Metro Councilwoman Vicki Welch told us at the time, many bins were just showing up from out of state organizations.

"They're not putting anything back into our community," said Welch.

The argument that the bins have no value here? A beloved Bluegrass non-profit would strongly disagree.

"Our program, Special Olympics Kentucky has received over $150,000," said Special Olympics Kentucky Executive Director Trish Mazzoni.

Mazzoni tells WAVE 3 News, that $150,000 for local programs was raised in less than two years when they put 90 bins in Louisville in 2011 and over 400 state-wide.

The idea is simple: They accept donations of clothes, shoes and books in the bins and sell them to Ohio Mills, a textile recycling company, who takes care of all the bins.

In an economy where it's hard enough to get donations, Mazzoni said they had no choice but to file suit to try and stop the ordinance and it's tough bin restrictions.

"I think initially the first year, it's a $300 licensing fee and then a $300 permitting fee per bin," Mazzoni said of the ordinance fees.

The ordinance also requires the bin be within 50 feet of the business's front door.

"Every place where we have a bin, we have permission and we have written consent by the business owner that they want to support Special Olympics and they want to be a part of this program," Mazzoni said, "they don't want that bin within 50 feet of the front door and if I owned a business I wouldn't either."

Mazzoni also questions city leaders for trying to hamper the organization's recycling effort at a time when the city keeps touting all of its green initiatives.

WAVE 3 News wanted to talk to Metro Council members about the ordinance, but we're told because Metro Government is being sued, they can't talk about pending litigation.

Lawyers for Special Olympics Kentucky hope to find out about a hearing date next week.

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