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City will consider revamped housing policy





Hays city commissioners, for the last few months, have been split on the issue of approving a Rural Housing Incentive District policy. During Thursday night's regular session at 6:30 p.m. at city hall, commissioners will vote on an amended version of the policy.

An RHID captures 100 percent of incremental real property taxes created by a development in an attempt to reduce overall costs of development. The developer pays taxes only on the value of the undeveloped land prior to improvements.

The amended version of the policy to be voted on Thursday states only developments containing a minimum of 10 renter-occupied low- or moderate-income qualified units will be considered for RHID status, and the policy would be in place only as long as there is a local need for low-income and income-qualified housing.

Mayor Kent Steward has maintained an opposition to the policy since discussions began several months ago.

"You (developers) don't have to pay your taxes, so you can build (income-qualified units) and make them available to people for a lower rent," Steward said during Thursday's work session. "Then everybody else has to pay those taxes for him and inevitably, the costs to other people go up.

"I don't disagree about the need. ... I just do not believe this is the right approach."

Commissioner Ron Mellick said he is supportive of an RHID policy for low-income and income-qualified housing.

"We don't have a homeless problem here in Hays," Mellick said. "This is what I'm targeting, to be able to put people that are trying to get on their feet. ... They need some help.

"If we don't help them, the city will be looking at the homeless ... looking at people living in their cars."

Other agenda items include:

* RAG Addition final plat.

* Request for rezoning proposed Luecke Addition.

* Replat of Golden Belt Eighth Addition, engineering services agreement.

* Addendum to the memorandum of agreement with Hays Fraternal Order of Police for 2014.