The East Ridge Housing and Redevelopment Authority met Friday morning at City Hall in an effort to establish its by-laws.
Mayor Brent Lambert formed the authority in late June, appointing Earl Wilson, Eddie Phillips, Ruth Braly, Darwin Branam and Curtis Adams.
The purpose of the housing/redevelopment board is to help create and ensure safe and affordable housing, and help create economic development by taking commercial and residential blighted properties and turning them into productive properties.
Mayor Lambert appointed Branam as the first chairman of the housing/redevelopment authority.
City Attorney Mark Litchford told members of the authority that he is finalizing a framework of by-laws allowing the board to move forward. In large measure, the by-laws will reflect what state statutes grant in terms of authority.
Litchford told the board members that the authority that a Vice Chairman is required by state statute. The statute allows for housing authority to have employees as well, such as an executive director, and those employees may be compensated.
Initially, the East Ridge City Council will fund the housing and redevelopment authority. In the future, the board could be self-sustaining.
The board agreed that as part of the by-laws it would establish that the East Ridge Housing and Redevelopment Authority would have a minimum of an annual meeting. That meeting would be held in November. The board may meet on a monthly basis if there is business to conduct.
No informal meetings of the housing authority will be conducted. Litchford explained that all meetings would require adequate public notice and that the board would fall under the state’s open meetings law. The board decided that it would allow public input during meetings.
Litchford explained that the board is a non-profit public authority but it is not tax exempt. He is exploring options on getting a tax exempt statues. He emphasized that the board could need a non-profit status to be eligible to receive state and federal grants.
Board member Earl Wilson asked Chairman Branam if the board could hire its own attorney and not use the services of Litchford. Wilson said he was concerned about Litchford working for the same law firm – Grant Konvalinka & Harrison – of which former City Attorney John Anderson is a partner. Wilson said the law firm represents the developers of Jordan Crossing and some elected officials in East Ridge.
Branam said that he saw no problem with Litchford remaining as the housing/redevelopment authority’s attorney.
The next meeting of the East Ridge Housing and Redevelopment Authority is scheduled for Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. at City Hall. Litchford said at that time he should have the by-laws finalized and they could be adopted.