Hillview residents upset over property tax increase following ci - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hillview residents upset over property tax increase following city's bankruptcy filing

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hillview neighbors say they're being forced to pay someone else's bill.

Monday afternoon the Hillview City council approved a property tax increase. It comes one month after the city filed for bankruptcy over a land deal gone bad.

"If they're going to make these decisions, then they need to be held responsible for them, and not us," said Wes Stafford, a Hillview resident. "They're going to cover their tail by passing it off to us. We don't like that."

Hillview owes Truck America Training $15 million after the mayor and city council backed out of a land deal. There are only about 9,000 people in Hillview, the city's budget is just $3 million a year and insurance won't cover the debt. City leader fought and appealed the case all the way up to the Kentucky Supreme Court and lost. 

"I know they're upset," said Tammy Baker, Hillview City Attorney. "Of course they're upset. But the city has to do everything it can to raise what revenue it can."

The average homeowner is only expected to pay $5 to $7 more a year. Baker said it's a necessary step to get the court to approve Hillview's bankruptcy application. In addition to the property tax increase the city attorney said leaders are also considering an increase in occupational and insurance taxes, as well as taking out a bond to pay down the debt. 

"Nothing is off the table," Baker said.

And that burns the owner of Champions Gourmet Popcorn. Eric Dezarn said his business survives on his customers' disposable income..

"If the taxes are raised too high to where people can't buy my product, it's natural that I will go somewhere," he said. "I will take my business somewhere else."

Stafford wonders, "Is it going to be just this year, or something they're going to do to us again next year?" 

Several neighbors voiced their concerns at a public hearing Monday night, but the property tax increase passed in a 4-2 vote. The 2015 tax rate will be adjusted from $0.1168 to $0.1214 cents per $100.00 assessed value.

"I don't mind a tax increase on my property if it's $5-$7 dollars a year," Stafford said. "What I do want to be sure, though, is that that money is being used properly to go back into our community and not just pay off someone's mistake."

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