Proposed LG&E gas tax moves forward by slim margin - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Proposed LG&E gas tax moves forward by slim margin

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Only people who live in the old City of Louisville, known as the Urban Services District and unincorporated parts of Jefferson County would pay the fee. Customers who live in Louisville's suburban cities wouldn't see an increase. Only people who live in the old City of Louisville, known as the Urban Services District and unincorporated parts of Jefferson County would pay the fee. Customers who live in Louisville's suburban cities wouldn't see an increase.
Council President Jim King Council President Jim King
Democrat Brent Ackerson Democrat Brent Ackerson

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Metro Council members moved a step closer to imposing on natural gas customers a $20 fee that Greater Louisville Inc. opposes.

The budget committee approved the measure on a 4-3 vote Thursday. The proposed ordinance would allow Mayor Greg Fischer's office to impose up to a 3 percent fee on Louisville Gas and Electric's gas customers.

Three Republicans voiced opposition to the plan, and one held up a stack of complaints from community members about the fee. Democrat Brent Ackerson joined them and said he, too, had concerns.

"At the end of the day, if this passes, my constituents will pay more money," said Ackerson, who represents portions of West Buechel, Hikes Point and St. Matthews. "This is a de facto tax."

Only people who live in the old City of Louisville, known as the Urban Services District and unincorporated parts of Jefferson County would pay the fee. Customers who live in Louisville's suburban cities wouldn't see an increase because those municipalities have their own agreements with LG&E.

[VIEW: Map of the Urban Services District]  

Greater Louisville Inc. representatives on Thursday sent emails to its business members urging them to contact Metro Council members and oppose the fee.

"In essence, this is a new $5 million per year tax on Louisville residents and businesses, making worse an already burdensome tax environment," the business group wrote in the letter, which it provided to WAVE 3 News.

A 3 percent fee would raise about $5.4 million a year, Fischer's office has said. The net result would be $4.8 million after eliminating the current, smaller agreement.

Some members of the committee complained that the fee would come on top of increased sewer taxes and the potential for property tax increases. Metro Sewer District said at the same meeting that it would raise sewer taxes by an average of $29 a year starting in August.

[RELATED STORY: Millions in upgrades, rate increases given initial approval by MSD]

Budget committee chairwoman Marianne Butler left the meeting during the hour-long debate on the proposed fee and didn't vote because she is an LG&E employee.

Councilman Kelly Downard led the meeting and was the only Republican to vote in favor of the measure.

"All of you know we are committed to paying for the safety issues that are coming up," Downard said before the vote.

Council President Jim King, a Democrat, said the full council would vote on the issue next Thursday. King, who supports the new fee, said he expected it to pass.

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