Knoxville, TN May 20, 2019 – Knoxville Mayoral Candidate and former Chief Operations Officer for the city of Knoxville Eddie Mannis released the following statement concerning affordable housing in Knoxville:
As an employer who employs over 150 full time people, my company is sometimes faced with the challenge of our employees finding affordable housing. My management team and I get involved in this process to help our employees find reasonable options and I know first-hand the challenge of doing so.
As Mayor, my administration will be focused on doing everything within our power to take on the challenges of affordable housing that not only plagues our area but is impacting growing communities and cities all across our country. I am committed to working with community stakeholders and City Council to develop an ordinance that creates an affordable housing trust fund with dedicated funding. Something that my administration will consider would be to commit a portion of TIF/PILOTs to affordable housing as they roll off the of TIF/PILOTs list and come back on the tax roles. This approach underscores the community benefit in building the tax base through supporting some difficult market rate housing that merits TIFs and PILOTs and directs these benefits to housing efforts for those who need it most. Nashville uses a portion of their Airbnb tax but that is not an option for funding here currently.
I will convene a Mayor’s Housing Task Force that will bring many of our community partners to the table to collaborate and help solve this community need. This taskforce will include representatives from KCDC, CAC, Senior Citizens Referral, Home Source, LHP, Habitat for Humanity, and Justice Knox, to name a few. Additionally, my administration will consider a review of the Tax Freeze Act of 2007 that allows a freeze on property taxes for residents over age 65 and older to ensure that this act is working the way it was intended. This policy will play an important role in ensuring that our senior citizens can continue to afford their homes within the City of Knoxville. I will also look to Community Development Financial Institutions as a potential funding opportunity in addressing affordable housing. These institutions provide capital and financial education to under-served urban and rural communities playing a vital role in economic development and access to affordable housing.
In the coming weeks members of my team and I will be meeting in Nashville with Ralph Perry, who is the current Director of THDA. We will be talking specifically about affordable housing here in Knoxville and work to further develop proposals for addressing this pivotal issue as Mayor.
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