February 8, 2013

Special Olympics Kentucky Files Suit against Louisville Metro Council

After the Louisville Metro Council passed an ordinance in December 2012 declaring charities using donation bins must be 50 feet or closer to the front door of building the bins are located, while charging owners of the bins $300 in registration fees for each bin, along with a $200 annual renewal fee, Special Olympics Kentucky sued the Council in federal court, saying the new ordinance is illegal.

The ordinance was put in place after there were some complaints that bins weren't being emptied in a timely manner.

Another part of the ordinance, which doesn't make much sense, is if a business is maintaining the charitable bins, then signs must be put in place that assert the contributions aren't tax deductible. That's not true, so it's unlikely that that part of the ordinance will survive a challenge.

A major concern is the rule that a bin must be placed at least 50 feet or closer to the front door of a building allowing them on the property. Some businesses would probably stop allowing the placement of bins if the rule remains in place.

The registration fee cost per bin is also prohibitive, essentially put in place to apparently stop this source of revenue for charities.

Special Olympics Kentucky attorney Ken Handmaker, said if the ordinance is allowed to go into effect in two weeks, which it is scheduled to do, it would end the ability of Special Olympics Kentucky to raise fund this way.

Trish Mazzoni, president of Special Olympics Kentucky, said it'll be difficult to replace the revenue source if the ordinance isn' rescinded. Since 2011, when the bins were first used by Special Olympics Kentucky, it has $150,000 across the state. Louisville has 90 of the approximate 450 bins used by the charity in Kentucky.

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