Hogansville Discusses Community Housing Program

The Hogansville Mayor and City Council held their July work session Thursday evening to discuss a number of ongoing projects and issues facing the city and got into a debate over the direction of the Hogansville Housing Authority.

One of the first items of items on the agenda was a discussion of the city’s participation in the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing program (GICH).

Mayor Bill Stankiewicz initiated discussion on the topic and wanted to clear up an issue which he felt to be a misunderstanding of the intent of the Hogansville’s potential participation in the initiative. Mayor Stankiewicz advised he had heard some concerns that the in program would somehow lead to the merging of the Hogansville Housing Authority with the La-Grange Housing Authority.

Stankiewicz attempted to explain that GICH is a three-year state program ran by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the University of Georgia. The goal of the program is to help communities around the state meet their revitalize their housing programs to better suit the needs of their citizens. The program provides training for its participants to develop a revitalization plan, but the plans can be customizable to each city and they are not binding.

Stankiewicz noted the merger of the two housing authorities has been previously discussed, but he is opposed to doing so.

“I, personally, am unalterably opposed to the merging of the Hogansville Housing Authority with the LaGrange Housing Authority,” said Stankiewicz.

Council Member Theresa Strickland brought up a concern that she feels the Hogansville’s participation in the program might lead to the recommendation that all three housing authorities merge, despite that not being the initial objective.

Hogansville’s participation in the program was not approved in a previous council meeting for lack of support.

Hogansville Housing Authority Board Member, Terry Rainwater, was on hand at the meeting to ensure that the housing board had no intention of merging with the LaGrange Housing Authority. Furthermore, Rainwater advised that the housing authority is independent of the city council, so they don’t even have to ability to authorize the merger anyway.

This seems to have eased some to the concerns, but as Stankiewicz later pointed out, “Let’s not kid ourselves, the LaGrange Housing Authority would like to merge the three housing authorities.”

“I just personally feel that would not be in the best interest for Hogansville,” he later noted.

The city also discussed a potential community paper shredding event for local citizens. City staff are in the process of contracting with a company to do onsite bulk shredding of boxes old documents that need to be shredded now that document holding requirements have expired and thought they could allow the public to get in on the action.

City staff suggested allowing the citizens to participate in the document shredding process with a public event on Saturday September 23. Citizens would be allowed to have up to five boxes of documents shredded at no cost to them, with an additional fee of $5 per additional box.

Tommy Murphy Staff Writer