256 Highlands property owners could face new tax

Published: Mar. 26, 2018 at 10:34 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2018 at 11:51 AM EDT
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Councilman Brandon Coan is hosting several public meetings on the idea. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Councilman Brandon Coan is hosting several public meetings on the idea. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Property owners along Bardstown Road could soon pay more to clean up the Highlands business district.

The neighborhood may install a task force, similar to property owners participating in the Louisville Downtown Partnership.

For a cost of about $364,000 a year, the Highlands Management District would use the task force to clean up and patrol Bardstown Road seven days a week.

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The first of several public meetings on the idea was Monday, during which dozens of property owners and residents expressed different feelings on if it is worth funding.

"The fun and safety of Bardstown Road is on the decline and needs some improvement," resident Leslie Purcell, who supports the initiative, said.

Councilman Brandon Coan, who is spearheading the proposal, announced his office would put in 10% of the total cost of the task force (about $35,000) using discretionary funds, which are tax payer dollars.

Some at the meeting wanted to know more about where their money would be going.

"From the very beginning have you operated in budget?" one property owner asked Ken Herndon, Special Projects Coordinator of the Louisville Downtown Partnership.

"We are always within budget," Herndon responded.

There are 392 parcels affected and 256 owners who would pay nearly 18 cents per $100 of their property assessment.

"That is a lot of money," Tom Longshore said.

Longshore owns property on Bardstown Road, along with Skyline Chili. He said he already pays for graffiti abatement and sidewalk cleaning.

"Why do we need to pay a group of people to do that?" Longshore asked.

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He said he is not seeing the value just yet, but will continue to attend meetings.

Councilman Coan has two more opportunities to present his case on how the task force would supplement the work already being done. Coan said it's a way for all business owners along Bardstown Road to contribute.

"Those that aren't locally based, they don't contribute as much as they need to, and this is how you guarantee that they put in their fair share," Coan said.

The next two public meetings will be Thursday, March 29, at 6 p.m., at the Highlands-Shelby Park Library (inside Mid City Mall); and Monday, April 2, at 6 p.m., at the Douglass Community Center Gymnasium.

There is a petitioning process to get the task force approved. If Coan gets enough support, the Highlands Management District could begin in January 2019.

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