Housing board meetings with two security firms

Representatives of two security camera firms were on hand to make presentations to the Warren County Housing Authority’s board of directors after their monthly meeting.

The board plans on replacing ADT because of a constant stream of problems.

Executive Director Tonya Mitchell-Weston reported that the public Community Day held last Saturday “…was a huge success. Based on tickets, we had at least 160. We ran out of supplies like cheese, ice, pop and water even faster than last year, but the kids had a blast.”

She also said that the authority’s website is still on track. “I just need to finish a couple of things and then it can go live,” she said.

For the Canterbury Court refinancing she said, “We are waiting for the field office to respond to a request to use our reserves to fund third-party reports. The financer can’t lend us the money, and I recommend pulling the money out of the reserves because that’s what it’s there for. The third party has to do a physical needs assessment and an energy audit.”

Mitchell-Weston said the blueprints for the office renovation were received Tuesday, and she went over the planned changes with the board.

Additions will include one more water fountain on the first floor and a kitchenette on the second floor, both of which will be American Disabilities Act compliant, and two offices. She said, “We have enough room for expansion, for meeting space and training space and a work space with file cabinets.” The second floor will have two community rooms, with entrances from the hallway so sound from one would not interfere with activities in the other.

She added, “At the reception area where you come in and there is a blank wall now, there will be a window, so folks coming in to pick up an application can be served there,” instead of coming into the building.

Other spaces to be added include three classrooms and an interview room.

Board member Frank Wilcox asked, “When will we decide on the final draft?”

Mitchell-Weston replied that after some minor changes were made, the blueprint will be sent back over and “you guys approve, and we’ll move forward.”

She also said, “We just have to figure out where we are going to work while this is happening.”

Tracey Kranak, authority financial director, said, “As far as public housing, we wrote a lot of checks this month, but we received money back. We are still getting subsidies of about $37,000 for public housing and $6,000 for the Rouse Manor. We still show a loss, but that’s because they cut our subsidy down to … 81 percent, and they’re still not locking that in. We’re still okay financially and we plan to be within our budget by the end of the year.”

“As far as our financial report, on the calculations of our year so far, we are doing magnificently well,” she added. “We got a compliment from the HUD ( U.S. Housing and Urban Development) office from Paul Miller, who is our …chief, he couldn’t believe how great our (occupancy) numbers are.”

Mitchell-Weston added that the occupancy percentage is in the mid-nineties, as opposed to last year when it was barely in the eighties.

For Canterbury Court, Kranak reported that the subsidies’ balance is around $28,000, but only because subsidies since last October were cut to 92 cents per month when HUD thought the authority had a non-existent bank account. Once it was cleared up, the subsidies were paid and will be used to catch up with bills for Canterbury, including the tax account. HUD had stopped providing, or reduced, subsidies to authorities with funds above a certain threshold, including Warren, in 2012 as a part of a fund recapture policy.

Continuing her report on Canterbury, she said, “Hopefully, before the end of the year we will be done with the refinancing and we will have money to do what we’re supposed to do with Canterbury. They had a problem with the elevator Saturday, and we may have to look at a (new) elevator when we refinance.”

After a February audit, the authority had to pay an additional $4,500 for 2012 and $4,000 for 2013 for worker’s compensation. A motion to pay $136,034.34 in bills was passed.

Lisa Abbott said, “For our tenant issues we had a meeting at the River View Terrace on May 22. We talked about plans for the Community Day. We explained to the residents about the future renovations to be in compliance with the section 504 and the ADA requirements to have at least two more handicapped accessible units, so we will temporarily have to transfer some residents out of four-bedroom units into three bedrooms so we can renovate the apartments and possibly have them transferred back. The meeting was very well attended, and enlightening as to issues at River View Terrace that we are (now) dealing with.”

Mitchell-Weston gave the maintenance report, as Don Saporito couldn’t make the meeting. She noted that washers and dryers have been ordered for all sites. The maintenance crew has received training, so work can be done on the boilers without contracting it out, and deadbolt work started at Conewango Towers on Monday. Maintenance has begun work on the smokers hut, and is working on reducing inventory after an auditor’s suggestion to remove supplies that are no longer used.

She said the public housing report shows occupancy is at 96 percent, “which is fantastic, fantastic.”