LaFayette DDA accepts Davis' resignation, looks to recruit new members

LaFayette DDA accepts Davis' resignation, looks to recruit new members

August 27th, 2013 by Katie Ward in Walker

LaFayette City Councilman Chris Davis' recent resignation from the LaFayette Downtown Development Authority leaves the group one member short of its required seven-member panel.

In his resignation letter, Davis cited the possibility for a conflict of interests as his reason for stepping down from the group.

"I have enjoyed my time serving on the Downtown Development Authority and seeing the positive results the Downtown Development Authority is having in LaFayette," he wrote. "However, I also am proud to serve on City Council, and I feel that serving on the DDA Board while also being a city councilman could be perceived as a conflict of interest. Thus, to avoid any sense of impropriety on the Downtown Development Authority, city of LaFayette or myself, I will be regretfully resigning from my position."

In a follow-up interview, Main Street Manager/LaFayette DDA Director Matthew Williams said Davis specifically wanted to avoid any potential conflict when it comes to voting on the Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund.

"While we are certainly sad to lose Councilman Chris Davis on the DDA Board, we understand his reasoning for leaving and respect his position," Williams said. "DDA law allows for one member of the governing municipal body [city council] to sit on the DDA board, but it is not required.

"It is important to understand that Chris Davis did not do anything wrong on the DDA board to constitute a conflict of interest, he only chose to leave the DDA board just to be sure that no one could ever suspect a sense of impropriety had been crossed."

Though the board is now short a member, it can still meet and function as long as four members are present, Williams noted.

"The DDA will still be meeting regularly as scheduled and our projects will continue to move forward ... with or without a replacement member," he said. "That being said, the new member that is selected will of course have an impact on future projects, as all of our members provide valuable input and bring new ideas and outlooks to the projects."

Committees that DDA members serve on are Restructuring, Promotions, Historic Preservation and Design.

"I would love to see five DDA members on every committee," Williams said. "We need people passionate about downtown. Per DDA law, DDA members must be taxpayers residing within city limits or owners or operators of a business located within the downtown development area who live within the county. Special conditions, one member may be a member of the [LaFayette] City Council, one member may live outside the county as long as that member owns a business within the downtown development area. It requires a commitment of time to come to monthly meetings and events, availability, a compassion to see positive change in your hometown and, of course, fresh ideas and inputs."

The group regularly meets the second Tuesday of each month at 1:15 p.m. at Chattooga Academy.