KNOXVILLE — The Knoxville City Council voted to approve loaning the city’s Low Rent Housing Agency Board $1,000 during so the agency can participate in a second lawsuit to recoup lost funding from a 2012 probe into housing agency funding.
Susan Swartzendruber, from the Knoxville Low Rent Housing Agency Board, was at the Aug. 7 council meeting and said officials with the agency are looking to get $22,985 refunded if the housing board wishes to participate in a second round lawsuit.
In 2012, the government took a look inside all of our bank accounts for the housing agencies across the board, saw that some had still slush funds, Swartzendruber said.
“I guess about 20 or 30 years ago the housing agency was a money making business. This is no longer the case,” Swartzendruber said. “It is now a month-to-month business. They took a look at that and shorted us our operating subsidy by about $45,000.”
The Low Rent Housing Agency of Knoxville did not act on the first round lawsuit. The housing agencies who filed a lawsuit the first time recouped those losses. According to Swartzendruber, 100 percent of the agencies received their money back.
“This is a second round lawsuit. It’s an opportunity for us to [recoup our losses.] The catch is, we have to [pay] upfront $1,000, and it can not come from our operating reserves,” Swartzendruber said.
The fee for Housing Authorities is $1,000 if it has less than 250 units. The fee cannot come from Section 8 or public housing funds. Swartzendruber said lot of other agencies did this with this because the agencies can run it through the city. Most housing agencies are part of the city.
“We are in an unusual circumstance where we’re municipal non-profit, we are not part of the city,” Swartzendruber said. “That is why we are presenting it to the city to see if you would upfront the $1,000 in hopes we get our money right back, and then some.”
The council voted 3-1 in favor of the loan request for $1,000. City Council Member James Lane voted no.
In other action, a special meeting is slated for 9 a.m. Aug. 14 for interviews for candidates for the current vacant seat on the City Council. The candidates interviewing to fill the vacant seat are Dylan Morse and Jason Everly.
The council also voted against changing the Aug. 21 council meeting time to 5 p.m. so council members could attend “Live a Complaint Free World” presentation by author Will Bowen, which is being presented by Knoxville THRIVE.
Bowen will be speaking at the Knoxville Performing Arts Center Aug. 20-21.
Some City Council members said they plan to attend the presentation on Sunday and did not feel it was necessary to change the time to attend on Monday.
Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch wanted to remind people of a luncheon being served by the Knoxville Fire Department after the parade on Saturday, Aug. 12. The luncheon is a fund-raiser and a cost will be associated with the luncheon. Hatch also wanted to remind people to be safe during Nationals and to enjoy the events being put on.
Knoxville Police Chief Dan Losada said his big request was for everybody to have a good time during Nationals.
“Slow down relax and enjoy it. Nerves tend to get fried at this time because of all the extra people in town. It takes a little longer to get places,” Losada said. “Trust me the places will still be there if you get there 10 minutes later.”