EDA moving forward on development in Milford Heights

NEW ULM – The Milford Heights subdivision is continuing to fill up with new homes. During Tuesday’s meeting the Economic Development Authority approved construction of a spec house on Block 5 of Milford Heights at a cost for $135,215. This construction follows the recent sale of house at 600 Pfaender Drive.

The EDA discussed accepting quotes and authorizing construction of a house on Block 4 of the subdivision for $129,500. The EDA is anticipating selling another home on Pfaender Drive by early April. City Manager Brian Gramentz suggested there was a risk of approving this construction because anything could happen before final closing.

Housing Coordinator Heather Bregel suggested approving the construction budget on the new home contingent on the successful closing on the first house. EDA members approved that suggestion.

In addition, a purchase agreement is being prepared for sale of a parcel of Milford Heights.

Section 8 Housing

Bregel reported that in February 116 vouchers were issued for Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). Payments to landlords exceeded disbursements from HUD at a cost of $4,650. Bregel said HUD is not dispersing all funds at this time, forcing EDA to use reserves.

“Although it looks like we’re over-spending, there is more money available to us, and I can draw that once are reserves are gone, ” Bregel said. She estimated HUD was holding $1,250 a month. No new vouchers are being issued at this time to level out expenditures. Public housing program revenue had exceeded expenditures by $31,752. Broadway Haus is fully leased as are family units. In addition $2,190 was received through revenue recapture.

A new utility allowance schedule for Section 8 Housing Voucher program was approved. The EDA is required to adopt a new schedule every year based estimated utility usage. The allowances show a significant increase in rates for natural gas heating. This adjustment will results in a $600 a month increase for the entire program. This new schedule are effective May 1.

Public housing program property and liability insurance was awarded to low bidder State Farm Insurance Company at an annual premium of $13,533.54, which is a 12 percent increase over the current premium. The new policy goes into effect on April 1.

The EDA will tour Orness Plaza in Mankato following its April meeting. Orness Plaza is a high rise owned by Mankato EDA. A major renovation project implementing energy efficient and healthy housing initiatives was recently completed at Orness. The tour would educate the EDA on potential changes that could be implemented at Broadway Haus.

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