The Warren City Redevelopment Authority met Thursday morning to discuss, among other things, sustainability in light of recent city budget cuts.
According to RDA Secretary Tricia Durbin, it's time to re-visit the bylaws.
"If there's a need to redefine our purpose or if their (the city) need is to refocus what we're envisioned to do, this is probably the time to look at that," she said.
If the city were to lose its redevelopment authority, there would be an immediate gap in the blighted properties process that has assisted residents and municipalities in addressing dilapidated structures in Warren for the past decade. The RDA is in charge of acquiring, replanning, and redeveloping properties that have been sent on to it through the Blighted Property Review Committee and the City of Warren Planning Commission.
RDA Treasurer Robert Kaemmerer outlined an estimated $8,200 in yearly costs that the authority incurs as follows: various insurance costs - $2,700; yearly audits - $1,000; snow and lawn removal - $1,500; property taxes on held properties - $2,400; and miscellaneous legal bills and office supplies - $600.
With the $4,000 that the RDA normally receives from the city cut out of its budget, its only source of income lies in any profits made on owned properties that are sold and an estimated $15 a year in interest earned from its bank account.
"Our ability to conduct business as an authority going forward with $39,000 for buying properties, or what else we may have to do, may not take us very far," said Kaemmerer. "The model that we have as a business right now, the original concept was that we would somehow develop these properties to create an income for ourselves or some kind of element that would become self-sustaining and dynamic as an organization. We have not really done that."
RDA Chairman Chuck Hayes said, "We have enough to pay the bills, but beyond that... The number of properties we sell varies from year to year, too. We might not sell a lot in 2013 but in 2014 we could sell quite a few."
Currently, the RDA owns properties at 702 W. Fifth Ave. and 305 Division St. along with the 304 and 306 Beech St. lots that are in the process of being sold for a winning bid of $12,000 through a real estate agent. The motion was made by Kaemmerer at Thursday's meeting to accept the offer made through the real estate agent, and the authority voted unanimously to accept the offer and to attach a stipulation that the new owner has three years to construct the proposed professional office building.
The RDA's next meeting will be on Jan. 17, 2013.