With the recent decision of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) to offer certain multi-family properties to public entities for conversion to low- and moderate-income housing, the Lake Highlands community, once more, will bear the burden of providing a significant number of new affordable housing units for citizens of Dallas.

The properties under discussion are located throughout the City, but three of the nine complexes are in the Lake Highlands community: Summer Glen, 9622 Rolling Rock; Deerfield, 9670 Forest Lane; and Wellington Place, 9940 Forest Lane.

The offer of the RTC makes it a certainty that at least 35 percent of the units in each of those three complexes would be designated for low- and moderate-income housing.

The question at hand is which public entity will become the owner and manager of the properties.

The offer from the RTC has been made to both the City and the Dallas Housing Authority (DHA), and at this point, it is uncertain which governmental entity will be given to right to purchase the units.

If the City becomes the owner of the properties, they will be acquired through the Dallas Multi-family Housing Acquisition Corporation (DMHAC), a recent creation of the Dallas City Council. This corporation, chartered last year, attempts to rescue some of the multi-family properties in this City that are on the verge of failure.

The DMHAC would create a board of directors for each property and would include on that board a representative from the surrounding community, who would play an active role in the management decisions to be made.

If the DHA becomes the owner of the properties, the decision-making responsibility would be entirely in the hands of the DHA board, and very little citizen input would be possible.

Furthermore, if purchased by DHA, the properties would be removed from the tax rolls, and the tax base would decline by another $25 million, costing the City approximately $170,000 per year in property tax.

While I am not convinced the City of Dallas should become a major landlord in this City, I do believe that it is in the best interest of the Lake Highlands community to have the properties in question owned by the City rather than the DHA.

Several amendments to the guidelines for DMHAC are essential if we are to make certain this corporation will operate properties which will, in fact, be good neighbors. These recommended changes will cause greater accountability on the part of the management company, increased opportunities for the City to monitor the conditions at the complexes, and will promote the possibility that the properties could be returned to the private sector in the not-too-distant future.

The next step in this process was a vote by the City Council Sept. 23 to support continued evaluation of each property and a formal expression of interest on our part to the RTC.

Citizens who wish to be kept informed of the progress of these negotiations may call my office at 670-4068 and inquire.

If you are not currently receiving notices of town hall meetings, please call the above number so that we may add you to our mailing list. I will keep you posted on this very critical issue.

More news from City Hall next month.