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Business Briefs

Louisville Metro And Airbnb Announce Tax Agreement

Louisville Metro and Airbnb recently announced the finalization of an agreement that will allow the company to collect and remit taxes on behalf of its hosts in Louisville and Jefferson County.

Effective April 1, Airbnb will automatically collect and remit the Louisville Transient Room Tax (8.5%) for taxable bookings. The agreement allows Louisville to fully benefit from people visiting and staying longer through home sharing.

Collecting and remitting hotel taxes can be complicated as the rules were designed for traditional hospitality providers and large hotel corporations with teams of lawyers and accountants.

That’s why Airbnb has begun partnering with governments throughout the world to collect and remit taxes, making the process seamless and easy for hosts to pay their fair share while contributing new revenue for local governments. These agreements are particularly impactful for a city like Louisville, where some homeowners may only be hosting visitors during a handful of large events such as the Kentucky Derby and, therefore, are less likely to be aware of the applicable taxes associated with short-term rentals.

“I am delighted to see that the city has settled on an agreement with Airbnb. We have leisure and convention travelers requesting the option of an Airbnb. We have a growing number of Airbnb hosts in Louisville – this will put them on the same playing field as our other accommodations in paying the transient room tax,” said Karen Williams, President & CEO of the Louisville Convention Bureau.

“We are always looking for opportunities to better serve taxpayers,” said Louisville Metro Revenue Commission Director Angela Dunn. “This agreement advances that goal by streamlining the local tax process for hosts.”

This marks Airbnb’s third tax agreement in Kentucky. In September 2017, the company announced a statewide tax agreement with the Kentucky Department of Revenue that authorized the company to collect and remit the state sales tax on all Kentucky Airbnb bookings (including in Louisville Metro). And earlier this year, Airbnb and Lexington announced an agreement authorizing Airbnb to collect and remit Lexington’s local room tax.

“We believe this agreement will unlock significant new revenue for Louisville Convention Bureau moving forward, and we’re so thrilled to have finalized it well prior to the Derby,” said Laura Spanjian, policy director for Airbnb. “With clear, fair rules to regulate home sharing and now a tax agreement to bring in new revenue, Louisville has emerged as a national model for how cities can capitalize from the sharing economy.”

The agreement comes at a time of dynamic home sharing growth in the Greater Louisville area. In 2017, Louisville-area Airbnb hosts earned $10 million in supplemental income while welcoming over 78,000 guest arrivals to the city.

Smoketown Family Wellness Center Celebrates Grand Opening March 24

Smoketown residents and local dignitaries will gather Saturday, March 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. to celebrate the grand opening of the Smoketown Family Wellness Center, a new model of healthcare to address the social determinants of health, located in the historic Presbyterian Community Center, 760 S. Hancock St. Suite #B100.

A press conference will be held at 12:45 p.m. at the Center.

Grand Opening festivities include appearances by Mayor Greg Fischer, Congressman John Yarmuth, District 4 Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and State Representative Attica Scott, to name a few. Smoketown native Sherlene Shanklin of WHAS11 will serve as emcee.

The celebration will also include light food and activities for all ages: Beargrass Media will have a videographer on hand to record Smoketown residents sharing stories of the neighborhood for the Center’s oral history project, Kertis Creative will host a photo booth and Meyzeek Middle School’s rap group Shades of Ebony will perform.

Nawbo Kentucky Announces 2018 Epic Awards Winners

The Kentucky Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) awarded the 2018 EPIC winners at their annual EPIC Awards Gala on March 1 at the Louisville Marriott East.

The winners, along with the category of their award, are as follows:

· Strive Business Owner of the Year: Amanda Matthews, Prometheus Art, Lexington

· Thrive Business Owner of the Year: Holly B. Wiedemann, AU Associates, Inc., Lexington

· Humanitarian: Julie Pogue, Julie Pogue Properties, Louisville

· Supporting Partner: Tammy Moloy, Ashley Rountree & Associates, Louisville

· Member of the Year: Demetria Miles-McDonald, Decide Diversity

· Influencer of the Year: Anna Tatman, Rosa Mosaic & Tile Company, Louisville

“These innovative, driven women are such an inspiration to all of us,” said Jesika Young, vice president of MainSource Bank and president of NAWBO Kentucky. “We are thrilled to recognize all of their accomplishments.”

The 24th Annual EPIC Awards celebrated 12 finalists. It began with a cocktail reception and a short speech from each finalist answering the question, “What is one key initiative you have built into your business, based on past experience, which will position you well for future success?” The night ended with an inspiring speech by Mireya Villarreal, international fashion icon and founder and designer of Pink Pewter.

For more information, visit www.nawbokentucky.org.

Visionfirst Eyecare Announces Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting Of New Location In St. Matthews

VisionFirst recently celebrated the grand opening of their newest office in St. Matthews, making their business the fastest growing locally-owned eye care practice in Louisville. They’re excited to now boast 15 different locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. This new office is located at 285 N. Hubbards Lane in Louisville.

VisionFirst has overseen the renovation of this building over the last few months. They are especially proud of the stone mosaic wall that patients will see upon entry to the office. Many patients will find the location familiar as it’s in the same shopping center as the neighborhood Kroger and just across the street from Target on Westport Road.

Dr. Koopman and Dr. Lannon, two of VisionFirst’s beloved doctors, are excited to begin serving the people of St. Matthews from this office. When asked about the new opportunity, Dr. Lannon said, “I am truly looking forward to bringing the VisionFirst family to the St. Matthew’s area. I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to who are excited to have our high-quality eye care and customer service so much more accessible. These are frequently people who, up until now, have been willing to travel all the way across town to another VisionFirst office and will now have an office conveniently located to meet their needs. What an opportunity!”

VisionFirst – St. Matthews is already receiving appointment requests and in its initial weeks, their team hopes to fill the St. Matthews office with new patients along with many current ones who may find this location more convenient for them.

The office hours for the St. Matthews location are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Office hours on Saturdays are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Norton Commons Hits Milestone in Effort to Build Nation’s Largest 100 Percent Geothermal Community

It’s full steam ahead (quite literally) for Norton Commons, the growing New Urbanist development in northeast Louisville, as the community charges forward with its mission to create one of the largest all geothermal communities in the nation. 200 homes in the community’s North Village are now heated and cooled using state-of-the-art technology, which harnesses energy produced beneath the earth’s surface.

Another 50 geothermal homes are currently under construction and 50 are in planning stages. When completed, Norton Commons’ North Village will have more than 1,500 homes, and will be one of the largest residential all-geothermal communities in the nation, alongside innovative developments like Whisper Valley in Austin, Texas and Pinewood Forest in Fayetteville, Georgia. Norton Commons completed the first geothermal home in December of 2015.

Geothermal technology takes advantage of moderate ground temperatures to create an efficient system that lowers monthly utility bills while emitting less carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Geothermal heating and cooling eliminates the need for outdoor air conditioning units and reduces noise while allowing for more space for residents to enjoy the outdoors. A network of underground geothermal loops and efficiently-sized heat pump units inside each home provide homeowners with the most comfortable heating and cooling systems available on the market today.

“Geothermal has been a huge hit. It offers energy savings and brings additional home comfort to residents,” said Norton Commons Managing Director Charles A. Osborn III. “It’s all part of our purposeful design, which includes 160 acres of planned green and civic spaces, miles of nature trails, a rose garden as well as our community vegetable garden and wildflower meadow.”

The federal budget deal that passed last month brought good news for geothermal homeowners and homebuyers. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which expired at the end of 2016, was reinstated and extended by the new deal after it was signed into law by the President. A tax credit means a dollar-for-dollar reduction of tax liability for units put into service after Jan. 1, 2017 through 2021.

Norton Commons Elementary in the North Village, the first new-build school for Jefferson County Public Schools since 2008, incorporates eco-friendly geothermal heating and cooling as well as other eco-friendly features like solar-heated water, a reflective white roof and LED lights with motion sensors.

For further details visit: nortoncommons.com.

Louisville Zoo Announces Elephant Mikki Is Pregnant

The Louisville Zoo is thrilled to announce that 32-year-old African elephant Mikki is pregnant. An ultrasound exam performed by the Zoo’s veterinary staff recently confirmed the pregnancy.

This pregnancy is the result of a planned and sophisticated artificial insemination process that began five years ago. Elephant gestation is 20 to 22 months. Through the monitoring of Mikki’s hormone data, the Zoo has concluded that Mikki conceived in October of 2017. She will likely give birth sometime in mid-to-late summer of 2019.

“We are very excited about Mikki’s pregnancy. Preserving the future of this species is critical to us and we solidified our commitment to elephants with the expansion of our exhibit in 2015,” said Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak. “Along with the expert, first-class attention and healthcare Mikki already receives, our animal care staff is also providing specialized prenatal care to safeguard the health of mother and calf throughout this long gestation period.”

“For Mikki, birthing and raising a calf is the most natural thing an elephant cow can do,” said Louisville Zoo Senior Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi. “Adding a calf to Mikki and Punch’s group will also strengthen the familial bond they already share.”

This is Mikki’s second pregnancy. In March 2007, she gave birth to Scotty, who passed away due to complications of colic, a condition not uncommon in many elephants and horses. African elephants can become pregnant into their 40s.

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