Housing board plans to sue security contractor

The Warren County Housing Authority is fed up with its security contractor, fed up enough to sue.

Executive Director Tonya Mitchell-Weston said there has been an ongoing problem with ADT TYCO, the security firm contracted to provide and maintain camera systems in housing buildings. She said even after repeated requests, the company has refused to maintain the equipment from the very beginning, and the Authority is filing a lawsuit for the full amount of the system, plus legal costs.

Meanwhile, refinancing of the Canterbury Court mortgage has “begun and is moving along.” The existing mortgage is at 9.25 percent, and she expects the new mortgage to be about 3 percent, which would cut payments in half. Mitchell-Weston said mortgage savings could be used to modernize the building, extend its useful life by 20 or 30 years.

She reported that new refrigerators and stoves have been installed in all units except Canterbury, and Authority member Frank Wilcox added “So we pick up energy efficiency.” Additionally, Mars TV and Appliance from New York purchased all the used appliances.

Plans are underway to change the layout of the first floor of Conewango Towers to add administration and storage space, move mailboxes and add room for mail packages. Part of the second floor could be modified to add a kitchen/dining area for group meals, and a community room with games and entertainment centers. When the plans are approved, a meeting with residents and the architect will be announced.

A motion to hire a part-time clerk for accounts receivable was passed, noting the position’s hours could be increased as necessary in the future,

Financial Director Tracy Kranak inquired if an employee tuition assistance program should be started, as a number of employees are interested. Wilcox asked what the parameters of such a program would be, noting that the education should be in line with the individuals job, and wondered if some type of commitment to remain on the job or refund costs should be required.

Kranak said they are looking into what it might take to completely re-wire Conewango Towers, including television cable, as the current cable’s bandwidth is stretched.

She also said, “Even after sequestration cuts, we still received subsidy funding, and it looks like we will for the remainder of the year. I think we will be fine here. We’re looking very healthy.”

When asked about state rating the Authority, Mitchell-Weston said “They don’t do that.” Kranak added, “For occupancy numbers, last September we were the lowest in the Pittsburgh district. Today, were are in the top ten.”