I would like to provide some information about the East Ridge Housing and Redevelopment Authority. This authority was created by the City Council by a 4-0 vote. I did vote yes for the formation of this authority as I believe it could have been a positive tool to address only blighted properties (dilapidated, unsafe, uninhabitable and unsightly condition) in addition to addressing high crime areas in our city and never was my intent to have the HRA to include occupied residential property in the map or plan.
The Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s Bi-Laws were adopted from the Tennessee state statutes. These statutes were created and passed by our very own Tennessee State Representatives. I understand the concern of a single individual having the sole power to appoint all five board member to this authority. I know statements have been made about an unelected body having so much power. I do want to point out that this authority has NO power to address ANY properties that are provided in the previous map and plan NOR any future map and plan without it first being presented to the elected City Council for a vote which would have to approve by two-thirds majority of your elected Council Members.
Concerning the previous map, plan and letters mailed … I truly understand your concern, panic, frustration & anger this has caused. During the April 26th council meeting, I asked for a consensus from other council members to direct our City Manager to re-engage the Housing and Redevelopment Authority to significantly reduce the map and adjust the plan to only include specific blighted areas and remove all residential properties. I also encouraged citizens to attend the May 3rd meeting. I had hoped that after the rework to the map and plan it will viable and acceptable by the citizens and City Council. If not, I stated I will not vote in favor and will ask for another consensus for additional rework. If ultimately I feel this Authority cannot produce an acceptable map and plan I am fine with dissolving the Authority.
I addition, I had planned to ask for a resolution to adopt a City Policy for all board appointments. This resolution would be for all city appointed boards and would enable council nominations and ratification by a quorum (2/3’s) vote of the council.
Concerning the mention of a possible loophole in the Tennessee Statutes of eminent domain of residential properties by an HRA, I had planned to introduce an amendment to Resolution 2646 that would remove the ability and access to all residential properties from the housing and redevelopment authority.
After the open house last night, it is very clear that the citizens do not want a Housing and Redevelopment Authority in East Ridge even with the above possible amendments. As I mentioned in the previous council meeting that if the majority of our citizens are not satisfied with the rework of a HRA map and plan I would vote to dissolve.
I have asked for a special called meeting Monday to discuss and take action concerning the HRA where I will motion and vote to dissolve this authority.
The reason for the special called meeting during the day is due to the fact I am traveling Monday afternoon and will not be able to attend the regular council meeting next Thursday (as I mentioned previously and would like to have a full council body for this vote) and I feel there is no need to let the uncertainty of this authority linger any longer.
I am always available and willing to listen to citizens input and discuss any concerns, suggestions or ideas. Feel free to reach out to me.