EDA approves revenue bonds and housing upgrades

NEW ULM – The Economic Development Authority held a public hearing on Tuesday on the issuance of Housing Facility Revenue Bonds by the EDA in a total principal not to exceed $10 million.

The request for the bonds came from HADC Ridgeway. The bonds will refinance the existing facility, according to City Manager Brian Gramentz.

The EDA and City Council approved the original financing in 2006 and HADC Ridgeway felt now was an appropriate time to refinance. No written communication was received regarding concerns and no one from the public spoke during the hearing. The official resolution starts the sale of bonds and will be approved during the July EDA meeting.

EDA was informed that Broadway Haus has two vacancies with 29 on the waiting list. Housing Coordinator Heather Bregel explained that one of the vacancies would be filled following repairs to the flooring. The other vacancy is a two-bedroom that is being advertised. EDA Family Units are fully leased with 18 on the waiting list. Garden Terrace Apartments currently has seven vacancies. Four of the apartments are currently going through rehab, but the remaining three do not currently have any interested parties.

Board member Merton Gustad questioned why the waiting list for Garden Terrace was remaining static despite the number of available apartments.

Bregel said many potential renters hold out for a specific type of apartment or choose to move during certain seasons. Staff suggestions for filling the vacant apartments include discount promotions or possibly agreeing to shorter leases.

Board member Peter Guggisberg said that he would rather allow short-term leases than discounts.

Bregel said that the extra cost to rehab short-term apartments would be less expensive than long-term leases. In addition, with a growing number of apartment buildings in the community, EDA members felt it would be necessary to perform a market study.

Plans and specification for the Public Housing Electrical Upgrade Project were approved. This project includes replacing receptacles with new tamper-resistant or fault-protect receptacles, replacing original light fixtures, and replacing original hard-wired smoke detectors. Building officials recommended these improvements for safety. The cost is estimated at between $10,000 and $15,000. Monies from the 2013 Capital Fund Grant will be used.

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