Here is a roundup of Insider Voices reflecting recent news developments.

In support of some short-term rental restrictions and better enforcement

As a homeowner who also serves as a host for short-term guests through Airbnb, I support the right of homeowners to open up their homes for short-term and long-term rentals. I have no issue with the city’s requirements to register and even to go through a lengthy and more expensive conditional use permit process for those of us living in Old Louisville and Limerick neighborhoods.

It is important, though, to crack down on the unregistered hosts who are not properly following the law. Doing so would significantly reduce the number of homes renting via Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, etc., and would likely reduce the complaints the city receives from neighbors because of the few bad apples whose guest issues occasionally make the news or irritate neighbors.

I support additional restrictions that limit how many non-owner-occupied short-term rental homes someone owns. I support a brief moratorium on new applications until more complete rules are put in place by the city.

It is also vital for the city to identify those who are improperly running an unregistered rental place and force them to shut down until they go through the right process for registrations and required permits. I fully support the city requiring Airbnb to have and post the host’s short-term rental license and/or Conditional Use Permit data on the Airbnb listings in order for that listing to accept guests. Jeffrey Ross

I feel it very important for short-term rentals to be owner-occupied either on the same property or even next door. One can keep tabs on what’s going on from day-to-day much easier, while tenants know the landlord is watching closely. Barb Watts

Water company rate increase

My recent experience with the Louisville Water Company has not been good. When we got a recent bill from the water company, we were charged for service that was almost double from the same month a year ago, we knew something was wrong.

We pay every month for a service to check out problems that is charged to our bill. The service came out and found that the problem was the water company’s problem. We called the water company and they said they would be out in 10 days to two weeks. We were still charged for a water and sewer increase that we had to pay.

After the water company supposedly fixed the problem, we got a small adjustment that in no way amounted to the overcharge. The new bill showed almost double the amount of water consumed as compared to a similar period of time.

Called the service people and they supposedly came out and said they could not find any problems. We were told to put food coloring in the commodes to check for leaks; no leaks. We know something is wrong, but the water company doesn’t seem to care. I say their attitude is indifferent at best, and can see no reason they should have gotten a rate increase. A dissatisfied customer. Harold Herman

The water and sewer rate increases that are planned for January 1 are essentially a tax increase that is disguised as a fee increase. The water company expects to pay a $19.3 million dividend to owner Louisville Metro next year. This dividend is essentially a tax on residents that most people are clueless about. The mayor and Metro Council, with the Louisville Water Company, which they essentially control, want to raise rates so that they can maintain the $19 million dividend.

If the mayor and Metro Council were being honest, they would just increase property taxes, which are at least deductible on your federal and state tax returns, whereas, inflated water bills are not deductible. It would be wonderful if the politicians could be honest and forthright about how they keep raising “revenue” (taxes) when espousing that they are not raising taxes. Bill Ferko

To SNAP or not to SNAP

The Insider Voices submissions last week on the SNAP issue offer two sides and the middle of a social program currently in the news. What is not discussed is the realization that it is not race-related, and does not define the root cause and recognize the considerable length of time it will take to solve the problem.

The ultimate resolution could span a generation. The answer is teaching parents to teach their children respect for others, self-respect, self-reliance and seeing that their children get an education whether it is college or vocational. All are equally important.

I had the opportunity to interact with someone who was the first of his family to escape the vicious circle of generational poverty. He said that if no one in a family ever receives any of the parenting stated above there is no hope in ending the public assistance dependence.

The key is to provide the training for the parents and the children linked to the continued participation in the SNAP program and other social programs for those receiving the aid.

The investment in providing trained personnel to teach and to provide oversight and measure success along with the SNAP program would be considerable. But it would pay huge social and. financial dividends by being proactive in improving the quality of life for future generations rather than be locked in the poverty cycle. George East

I’d like to ask the people who think that SNAP benefits should not be given to “able-bodied” citizens: How many homeless people have you hired lately? How often to you go to the homeless under the interstate bridge and offer them jobs? How many business owners give jobs to people who have no home address because they live in a shelter? It’s easy to condemn when you benefit from the system and only offer harsh platitudes and no real-world solutions. Andy Perry

This is just an extension Republican attack on the most vulnerable. They have been successful in training their adherents to believe the system is rife with people who are abusing the system so they can stay home and watch Springer all day on the backs of good, productive taxpayers.

That simply is not true. People do not choose to live lives of nothingness. They are stuck in a system that allows them no escape. Republicans are quick to judge people in poverty because it is not them.

The irony is, the moocher hating red states are the ones that take more services than they contribute to. Maybe instead of worrying about someone who gets $40 a week for food, worry about a system that gives $18 million to an Ark Park while forcing its citizens to suffer abject poverty. Lem Mason

Louisville needs better transit to cross urban-suburban divide

Whether you are a new millennial college graduate or a boomer wanting to age-in-place, neighborhood “walkability” is becoming a key factor in home purchases. Over the next few decades, boomers will start to age out of driving. Without use of their personal vehicle, or spending hundreds a month on Uber or Lyft to do daily activities, our older residents could become increasingly isolated in their suburban homes.

For better or worse, Louisville’s major infrastructure is centered on the automobile. There are many ways we can improve our existing infrastructure. We do not have a single operational Amtrak rail line running through Louisville, which could potentially bring thousands of tourists annually from Chicago and Indianapolis.

Many of our current TARC “stops” are just metal poles with no shade trees, shelter or seating. If the weather is rainy, too cold, or too hot, the average Louisvillian wouldn’t take TARC unless by absolute economic necessity. Compounding this problem is the lack of direct travel between suburban neighborhoods without needing to go downtown.

Increasing funding and partnerships between metro and suburban city governments like J-town would allow increased ridership, lower commute times and faster bus routes. The work the city has done with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line on Dixie Highway is certainly promising, but more must be done.

A city dependent on personal vehicles will reduce our future competitiveness in attracting an educated workforce. We need only to look at the winners of the Amazon headquarters — NYC and D.C. — to realize that transportation of workers is a key factor.

Although 50,000 new jobs would have been great for Louisville’s economy, our interstates wouldn’t be able to handle tens of thousands of new cars without large amounts of gridlock and even worse rush-hour traffic.

The solution for these traffic problems is to take more personal vehicles off the roadways, allowing for more efficient bus traffic and faster commute times. At the same time, we must expand suburban bus routes to alleviate some of these problems. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line on Dixie Highway is certainly promising, where buses are able to move at a more constant speed with limited stops, but could you imagine a BRT line for Taylorsville Road, Hurstbourne Parkway or Broadway?

We need to lobby our elected officials in both the state and cities we live in to address these needs. Jody Dahmer

 

Insider Louisville is on a mission to give a voice to our readers who want to weigh in on the critical issues of the day. Insider Voices is a regular Sunday feature for those who want to keep the conversation going when it comes to our five cornerstone coverage areas: culture, economy, education, government and health.


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