Commissioners Approve Policy to help Low-Income Housing

By a narrow 3-2 vote City Commissioners on Thursday night approved the amended Economic Development Policy for the City of Hays containing the Rural CommissionHousing Improvement District Policy.

The RHID policy states only developments containing a minimum of 10 renter-occupied low or moderate-income qualified units would qualify for RHID status. The low-income housing language was included in the policy at the request of Commissioner Ron Mellick

An RHID captures incremental real property taxes created by a development in an attempt to reduce overall costs. The developer pays taxes only on the value of the undeveloped land prior to improvements.

Greg Thyfault, who represented the independent living resource center SKIL, the Domestic Violence Organization Options, and the disability advocacy organization LINK told commissioners the problem on a lack of low income and accessible housing was not going away and he thought it was getting worse. “We would like to ease the burden of everybody who has a disability in town. To have a little bit more availability when they are going to look for an apartment,” he said.

Vice Mayor Henry Schwaller said he believed the proposal was to narrow in scope, “I think it should include single family dwellings and I think it should have a provision requiring accessible housing and it’s not in there and that outrages me.”

Mayor Kent Steward said he did believe there is a need for low income housing in Hays but that the proposed policy did not address accessible housing. “There is nothing in this that says someone is going to come in and build accessible housing. All it talks about is low-income housing and I’m not sure how we even define that.  Commissioners Mellick, Musil and Phelps voted in favor of the proposal.

In addition, Commissioners Approved the final plat of the RAG addition, the area off of 22nd Street and General Hays Road.

Approved rezoning of the Luecke Addition.

Approved the Golden Belt 8th Addition engineering services agreement.

They also approved the addendum to the memorandum of agreement with the Hays Fraternal Order of Police Lodge for 2014.

  • Just thinking

    We need low income housing in Hays. I would like to see them build a place like Wyndam Place, or Hays Plaza apartments. The rent you pay would go by how much you make.

  • BB

    A big Thanks You for the 3 Commissioners that Voted yes.

    • Ruserious

      I agree. Saddened by the fools that didn’t. Typical repubs. Didn’t have “everything” they wanted in it so they voted no.

      Schwaller was just upset about the accessibility being left out cause now he can’t sell construction materials for it. If it don’t line their pockets they are against it.

      • Just thinking

        You got that right. Some people know how the commissioners work. Schwaller was upset because it wasn’t in his favor. He has to have it his way and I hope that stop. If it doesn’t we will have a long 2 yrs.

      • Uncle Thomas

        What are you mumbling about…? Mr. Schwaller has nothing to do with any building supply sales.

        • Ruserious

          Is he not part of heartland building center? Used to be known as schwallers.

          • Uncle Thomas

            The Schwaller family has not been part of the lumber business for at least 30 years!
            The commissioner Louie the IV…mean Henry the IV has managed some of his grandpa’s rentals. Mostly spends grandpa’s money.

          • Ruserious

            30 years? Good god I’m old. Thanks uncle T. Thanks a lot.

          • Countryboy

            Pfannistils own it now that it is Heartland. And I know I misspelled their last name and I’m sorry to offend.

  • Person

    If the slum-lords in this town didn’t think they had to charge $600 for a little one bedroom apartment and more for some place decent, maybe we wouldn’t need all this.

  • Just thinking

    The Housing in Hays is a killer Who can pay 600 – 800.00 rent a month or even more for an apartment on a fix income. The lots in Hays are out of site. I call it a Gold Mine.

  • passin threw

    speaking of fixed income housing….why does the city of hays allow the housing on indian trail to be over ran with noxious weeds? for that matter, why do they allow the extra area around the new sports complex to be full of noxious weeds as well? i’m a little surprised that the county allows this to happen since they don’t allow it to be ignored on farm ground

  • Uncle Thomas

    The city is a joke when it comes to enforcement of its ordinances. We have commissioners who want to micro manage until a real issue hits them in the face then they want to step out and let the department head take the heat. If the department head takes the initiative then you have the commissioners ready to second guess them. I don’t know where the City Manager, Asst. City Manager and the City Attorney fall in on the water issue…?
    Once again do we have a water issue or not?

  • Uncle Thomas

    Why continue to build low income houses? We don’t have the water to support the growth do we?

    • Ruserious

      Is our water supply tied in with Russell county in any way? Cause their approval of the ethanol plant there was rediculous. Ethanol is a pipe dream. Waste of corn, water and the MPG in my truck. What a joke.

  • Wow

    It doesn’t matter if we have the water to support the growth, fact is we have families that are in desperate need of housing. You might be surprised at the percentage of low poverty people are in Hays..

    • Uncle Thomas

      Surprise me…what is the percentage?

      • He speaks truth

        36.2% as of 2009. I don’t think things are better economically now than they were then. Could be a little higher or a little lower now, regardless, it is a good chuck of people.

    • Uncle Thomas

      What I don’t understand about low income housing…assuming we are talking Sunset, Epworth, the concrete duplex’s by Aubel/Bickle park, those north of the aquatic park…drive by them… If they cant afford housing how do many of them afford satellite TV, new vehicles, tattoo’s, smoking, latest cell phones and all the junk they have setting around outside the apartments?

      • Freedom

        This is one of the ways an abuse of ones freedom can impact the whole. People have a right to spend their money on what ever they choose. The instant that money gets exchanged from the government to the person, they have a right to use it in what ever way they choose. It is a slippery slope when you start letting the government dictate what is considered “appropriate spending.” I don’t like the thieves but what can you do?

        I feel programs like food stamps help regulate how the money is used (though that is abused too.) Increasing programs like this instead of a check for cash might be a more practical solution, it’s hard to stop a parasite once they get the taste of a free meal.

      • what was the problem?

        Not to mention Sundance apartments and the Hud Houses. This is just another scam to line the pockets of the rich. The rich get richer the poorer get poorer and the middle class pay for it…. again.

        • Uncle Thomas

          And they keep procreating for the right to more free government money. Then we the tax payers pay for the meals and schooling all the while they complain about the system not meeting their needs.
          If personal responsibility would be a factor and one would only have the children they can afford…I know way out there.