Broken buildings: Fischer favors local tax option, PVA tries for - News, Weather & Sports

Broken buildings: Fischer favors local tax option, PVA tries forcing hand

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Colleen Younger Colleen Younger
Mayor Greg Fischer Mayor Greg Fischer

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says priorities for tight money argue against making major repairs to Jefferson County's Fiscal Court building. But some county officials claim Kentucky law may leave him no choice.

Jefferson County's Fiscal Court building has given workers in the Property Valuation Administrator's office another lesson in degrees, barely a week after furnace issues forced them to dress in layers.

[PREVIOUS STORY: PVA staffers assess Fiscal Court building as too broken to fix]

"I'm burning up," Chief of Staff Colleen Younger said Monday. "It feels like a desert when I walk in here in the morning."

Nine days away from Christmas, she opened her office window and cranked the air conditioning unit. After three hours, the thermometer still read 80 degrees.

"We gotta look at some other options, because it's just not getting any better," she said.

"Well, the question is, where's the money gonna come from, Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer said. "That's why I'm pushing for the local option (sales tax) so that people can vote on specific projects that they want to fund at the local level."

Kentucky's Constitution forbids local entities from levying their own sales taxes. Voters to have to approve an amendment to allow it, but it wouldn't appear on a statewide ballot until November 2014.

"We're not alone, though," Younger said.

PVA Tony Lindauer and Sheriff John Aubrey have written to County Attorney Mike O'Connell, asking whether Kentucky statutes governing fiscal courts also would force Mayor Fischer or Metro government to provide suitable work space.

"If so, are we free to find another workplace that we consider to be suitable?" Younger asked.

The letter also inquires whether the statutes would compel the Mayor to repair the Fiscal Court building and who would bear responsibility for employee illnesses resulting from unsafe or unhealthful conditions.

"The Sheriff believes it'd be less expensive to repair the building than to move," Lt. Col. Carl Yates said.  "But until we know what Tony's (PVA Administrator Lindauer) doing, we don't know what we might do for extra space. And we definitely need it."

"We have talked to a couple of people, but I really don't want to disclose who, right now," Younger said.

"We do want to get all the players around table."

O'Connell hasn't had time to review the letter seeking his opinion, County Attorney spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said. "We're getting into Christmas vacations, and neither the PVA nor the Sheriff put a timetable on it."

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