HUD funding remains low for public housing

NEW ULM – Housing assistance payments exceeded disbursements from HUD by $3,754 in March, according to a report from Housing Coordinator Heather Bregel presented Tuesday to the EDA.

No new vouchers will be issued until expenditures are inline with funding. “HUD is making disbursements based on projections of what our needs are,” said Bregel. “What they are basing our funding needs on isn’t necessarily accurate.” The EDA is using local reserves to cover cost differences.

The renewal funding notice for 2014 was received and shows higher funding than anticipated. Bregel said that while the 2014 funding will be lower than 2013, the housing department had prepared for a worse outcome following the sequestration last year.

Under Public Housing, program revenues have exceeded expenditures by $35,511 as of March 31. Broadway Haus is fully leased with 28 on the waiting list. Family units are also fully leased with 38 on the waiting list.

Capital Fund Program

The board accepted a 2014 Capital Fund Program (CFP) grant award of $57,193 and approved submittal to HUD the 2014 CFP amendment.

In conjunction with accepting the grant, the EDA must compile a list of projects reflecting the use of the funds. The list of projects includes Green Physical Needs Assessment (GPNA) in Broadway Haus. This is a new requirement established by HUD that combines physical need and energy audit. The estimated cost to have the assessment performed could range from $250 a unit to $500 a unit. Bregel suggested partnering with other Housing Authorities in the region. By scheduling the assessments at the same time the overall cost could be lower.

Other project ideas include exterior renovation to Broadway Haus and radon mitigation in family units. In addition, the electrical wiring in the family units may require updates.

Loan for TIF Fund

The panel approved a resolution authorizing a loan from the EDA fund to the City TIF fund. Finance Director Reg Vorwerk said this loan was becoming an annual occurrence.

“There just isn’t enough TIF money received to cover all the special assessments,” said Vorwerk.

The resolution set up a transfer between the EDA Fund and the TIF Fund. The amount transferred is $70,000 at 3 percent interest rate.

In other business, the EDA:

Agreed to a membership in the Greater MN Partnership (GMNP), a branch of the Coalition of Greater MN Cities that specifically deals with economic development. City Manager Brian Gramentz recommended the membership to give New Ulm access to state economic development programs.

Authorized staff to extend the current contract with Valley Properties for the EDA lots on Lee Avenue. The contract was originally signed in October of 2012 and this extension will create concurrent expiration dates with the Century 21 contract on the Milford Heights sub-division. Staff intend to solicit bids from local realtors in August for the Milford Heights Sub-division and the Lee Avenue parcel as a one package contract.

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