City Council approves housing assistance loan of up to $800K to city manager

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Berkeley City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday approving a loan of up to $800,000 to City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley.

The loan authorizes Williams-Ridley to purchase a residence within a 10-mile radius of the city of Berkeley, according to city documents. The loan will span a 20-year term with an annual interest rate of 3 percent, and the loan amount will come out of the general fund allocation of the city’s 2017 fiscal year budget.

“City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley considers the move very important to her interest in being more available to the Berkeley community and being able to attend more community events,” said city spokesperson Matthai Chakko in an email.

According to city documents, when Williams-Ridley was appointed to the city manager position in March 2016, her employment contract included assistance in the purchase of a residence.

The contract, which was first approved in 2016, did not specify an amount that the loan couldn’t exceed. The resolution adopted as of Tuesday specified the amount as up to $800,000.

“Recognizing the burden and expense of relocating her family from the Sacramento area, the contract provided for a housing loan to assist in a purchase of a residence within a ten mile radius of the Berkeley city limits,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín in a report.

Similar assistance has been provided to other city officials in the past. In 2009, City Council approved a loan with similar terms to former Berkeley Police Department Chief Michael Meehan, city documents stated. Meehan was permitted a housing assistance loan of up to $500,000 for the purchase of a residence.

Williams-Ridley is in the process of finding and submitting offers to purchase a residence in either the city of Berkeley or the “immediate surrounding area,” according to city documents.

Contact Ishira Shrivatsa at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @i_shrivatsa.