MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY HOUSING COMMISSION

MONDAY, JUNE 7, 2010, 3:00 P.M.

333 W. ELLSWORTH STREET

MIDLAND CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS AND COUNCIL CHAMBERS OVERFLOW

 MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

  I.  Roll Call

 

PRESENT:   Bob Burgess, Dick Darger, Rick Loose, Sharon Mortensen and Steve Rapanos

 

ABSENT:    None

 

STAFF:        Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and Cathy Marcy, Manager of Riverside Place

 

OTHERS:    Carole Locker (League of Women Voters), Nick Wolak (Midland Daily News), and Joe Rokosz

 

The Housing Commission welcomed Sharon Mortensen as their new member.  She replaces Fran Hamburg on the Commission, who left when her term expired in June, 2009.  Sharon is the Executive Director of Shelterhouse and will be a welcome addition to the Housing Commission.

 

II.  Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting of March 1, 2010

 

      A motion was made by Mr. Darger, seconded by Mr. Burgess to approve the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of March 1, 2010.  The motion passed unanimously.

 

III.  Public Comments

 

        There were no public comments.

 

IV.  New Business

 

A.    Senior Housing Smoking Policy

 

On July 1, 2007, the city’s senior housing facilities, Riverside Place and Washington Woods, became smoke free living environments.  At the time, existing residents who smoked were afforded the opportunity to continue smoking in their current apartments.  All new resident’s apartments and all public areas of the facilities became smoke free.

 

With the recent change in state law as it pertains to smoke free workplaces and the desire to promote a healthy lifestyle and living environment for our senior residents, staff is recommending that those remaining tenants in the city’s two senior housing facilities be required to discontinue smoking in their apartments and balconies.

 

To the best of staff’s knowledge, there is only one tenant at Riverside Place that is still a smoker and approximately 8-10 tenants at Washington Woods that still smoke within their apartments.  New leases will be drawn up for these tenants to sign, as their rental agreements are on a month-to-month basis.  Tenants who wish to smoke will have to go outside of the buildings to smoke.  Staff will work with Midland Community Cancer Services to help those who wish to quit.  This policy is proposed to take effect January 1, 2011.

 

Motion by Mr. Rapanos, seconded by Mrs. Mortensen, to approve the policy letter with the suggested amendment (removal of the word “careless” in the third paragraph).  Motion passed unanimously.

 

B.     PILOT Policy Review Update

 

Sharon Mortensen presented comments from the final meeting of the PILOT Policy Review Committee.  The final draft policy will be sent to the PILOT Policy Group and to the Housing Commission members for review.  Proposed application requirements include a market study within the past 12 months, which can be waived by City Council.  The proposed policy lists the required application materials.  The process is as follows:

1.      The application for a PILOT project is sent to City Council.

2.      City Council refers the application to the Housing Commission.

3.      The Housing Commission reviews the application and makes a recommendation to City Council.

4.      City Council would make the final determination and take the final action.

 

            The PILOT would only be eligible for the original mortgage term.  Income verifications will not be required to be provided to the city for every tenant.  Mr. Baker will develop wording regarding this requirement.  Discussion was held about the definition of “non-compliance”.  When exactly would someone be non-compliant?  Mr. Baker will define this term within the policy. 

 

            The Housing Commission would provide an annual report to City Council regarding compliance of the PILOT projects, the percent of registered units in the PILOT Program, and the percent of non-homestead taxable value of PILOT projects.

 

            Mr. Rapanos asked if the existing PILOT projects could be forced to comply with the new policy.  The City Attorney has advised that the city cannot require this because their agreements are already in place.  Mr. Rapanos asked if there is any way to change the existing ordinance?  Ordinances are changed every day.  He asked staff to check with the City Attorney once more on this matter.

 

C.    Purchase of Foreclosed Properties

 

There are three properties in the City of Midland that have reverted back to the Midland County Treasurer for property tax sale.  These properties include 1606 Jefferson Avenue, 1514 Jefferson Avenue, and 1311 Fournie Street.  The properties must be purchased for a public purpose and if the city were to sell the properties, any excess amount over and above the costs the city has invested in these properties must be returned to the county.  The “public purpose” for which the city would purchase these properties is the preservation of the city’s housing stock.  The house at 1606 Jefferson has been posted as not habitable.   It will be treated as a contaminated site and the structure will be demolished.  The house at 1311 Fournie Street has had the water turned off since 2005 and has not been occupied since prior to that.  The owner of this property and the property at 1514 Jefferson used the Fournie Street property as storage for her belongings.  The water has recently been turned off at 1514 Jefferson for non-payment of the water bill.

 

The City of Midland Housing Department intends to make improvements to the two properties at 1514 Jefferson and 1311 Fournie Street to bring these properties up to current building code.   It would then be their intent to sell these properties on the open market to keep them owner-occupied and to keep them from becoming slum and blighted properties in their respective neighborhoods.

 

            Mr. Rapanos thought 1514 Jefferson and 1311 Fournie Street might be properties a local developer might purchase at tax sale and make the necessary repairs.  Mrs. Mortensen stated she thought there might be asbestos siding on the one house.  Housing Commissioners wanted to know how much work would have to be done to these houses.  They wanted to make sure that they would not lose money after the repairs were made and the homes were sold on the open market.  After further discussion, Mr. Rapanos moved that city staff purchase and demolish the house at 1606 Jefferson Avenue.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Burgess.  Motion passed unanimously.  There was consensus that they would delay a decision on purchasing these two properties until the city’s Housing Technician could inspect the interior of these two houses and provide a cost estimate of the repairs.  This issue will be discussed at a special meeting to be held on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Overflow Conference Room at City Hall.

 

D.    Future Meeting Date

 

The next regular meeting of the Midland City Housing Commission will be on Monday, September 13, 2010.   The Housing Commission will have a special meeting on Monday, June 21, 2010 to discuss the PILOT Policy recommendations, purchase of two property tax foreclosed properties, and the 2010-2011 Building Trades project. 

 

V.  Reports

 

A.    CDBG Update

 

Community Development Block Grant subrecipients are in the process of spending the money the city has allocated to them.  Staff met the 1.5 spending goal early this year.  The city’s current ratio is 0.95 times the current year’s grant after the third quarter drawdown. 

 

Staff is in the process of spending the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.  Currently there are six applications to connect homeowner occupied residences to the city’s sanitary sewer system.  Two of these residents also wish to connect to city water so the project has been expanded to include connections to city water and sanitary sewer in the targeted areas of Welch and Laughton Drives, Sandow Road, Prairie Creek Drive, and Glen, Solomon and Elmer Roads.

 

B.     CHOICE Update

 

The 2009-2010 Building Trades project at 5411 W. Wackerly Street has been built for a family who has a child with a disability.  This will be the third year in a row that the city has partnered with an agency to provide handicap accessible/barrier free housing for one of their clients.  Construction on this house is approximately 95 percent complete. 

 

Staff has identified an individual from the ARC of Midland who has inherited some funds and needs a house that is handicap accessible and barrier free as he is in a wheel chair.  This will be a good project to do with the Building Trades students in the 2010-2011 fiscal year as we again will have a purchaser for the house before it is built.  This will be the fourth house that this partnership has created that will be barrier free.  This house will be built on a lot that the Housing Commission owns at 1311 W. Union Street.  The client will pay for the actual costs incurred in the construction process, plus an estimated value of the lot.

 

The purchase of 406-408 Eastlawn has been completed.  The contract for the demolition of these dwellings has been awarded to Pat’s Gradall.  Demolition will occur in the near future.

 

C.    Senior Housing Update

 

Cathy Marcy reported that Riverside Place is at 100 percent occupancy.  Washington Woods just held a 25th anniversary open house.  They toured 20 people through the building looking at apartments.  Both facilities have been busy planting flowers.  Riverside Place will implement a three percent increase in market rate rent beginning on July 1, 2010 and Washington Woods will implement a five percent increase market rate rent on the same date.

 

Mr. Darger asked about the study done regarding updating the apartments at Washington Woods.  This study was done with a grant from the Strosacker foundation.  As Mr. Baker nor Candy Balis were not able to attend this meeting, the results of this study will be presented at the September, 2010 Housing Commission meeting.

 

 

 

VII.  Adjournment

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:18 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Cheri King

Secretary

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE HOUSING COMMISSION.