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Knoxville City Council votes to allow more time for budget amendments, approves low-income housing project

The city is considering spending a total of $3.8 million, partially from federal funds, on 88 low-income housing units.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville City Council is meeting Tuesday to vote on resolutions that could lead to more low-income housing developments in the city, more time for city leaders to consider budget amendments and an additional $1 million for the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. Environment Protection Agency offers a Climate and Pollution Reduction Grant that would give $1 million to the city to reduce harmful air pollution. Tuesday's resolution would be the first step toward getting the grant. Next, the city would need to submit applications by May 31 and develop a project lasting until 2027 to use the grant on.

Other major resolutions include two funding sources for a low-income housing development and a request to give council members more time to consider budget amendments.

Resolution to adjust timeline for City Council's approval of operating budget

Councilmember Amelia Parker requested the council receive more time to go through the city's proposed budget and propose amendments to it.

According to the resolution, the proposed operating budget for the city will be announced on April 26. Proposed budget and tax ordinances would then need to appear on the agenda on May 2, before hearings for the budget will be held on May 11. The budget's second and final hearing would then be on May 16.

Alternative budget proposals would need to be filed by May 8 for them to appear on the May 16 agenda, effectively giving council members less than two weeks to read the budget and consider changes to it.

The proposed resolution would move the second reading of the budget to May 30, giving councilmembers more time to read through it and consider amendments.

The resolution passed Tuesday night.

Resolutions to fund building 88 low-income housing units

Two resolutions were proposed to develop 88 new low-income housing units. The first would use $900,000 from the city's Affordable Rental Development Program to build 30 affordable rental housing units at 1511 Callahan Drive.

The second resolution would use $2.9 million from the federal HOME American Rescue Plan, which is specifically meant to create new affordable permanent supportive housing.

The project is called "Callahan Flats" and would create 58 one-bedroom Permanent Supporting Housing units. These would serve people with disabilities that require help to live independently, and who also make below 30% and 60% of the median income of the area. The units would be around 603 square feet large, according to city documents.

The tenants would be formerly homeless and will pay the highest of either 30% of their family's income, 10% of their family's income, or $50. People will qualify for Project Based Vouchers for the people living in these units, according to city documents, to cover the rest of the cost of the rent.

The 30 other units would be multifamily two-bedroom and three-bedroom units for families at or below 60% of the median income of the area, due to tax credits received for the project. The two-bedroom stories will be 960 square feet large and the three-bedroom ones will be 1,267 square feet large.

Tenants in these units will pay "Fair Market" rents, as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The housing project will include on-site management, a picnic/gazebo area, a meeting room with a kitchen, a business/computer center and laundry facilities. The units funded through federal money will need to follow affordability standards for 20 years. Since the property received Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, rent must be held at LIHTC maximum rent for 30 years.

According to the city, the project is expected to cost around $25.7 million in total. They expect it to be completed sometime during the second quarter of 2025.

The resolutions passed Tuesday night.

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