REGULAR MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY HOUSING COMMISSION
MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2011, 3:00 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS OVERFLOW CONFERENCE ROOM
I. Roll Call
PRESENT: Bob Burgess, Rick Loose, Sharon Mortensen and Steve Rapanos
ABSENT: Bill Garchow
STAFF: Cheri King, Community Development Specialist; Keith Baker, Planning Director; and Cathy Marcy, Manager of Riverside Place
OTHERS: Carol Locker (League of Women Voters), Andrea Sneller (Disability Network), Roger Mikusek (Affordable Housing Alliance), Kirsti Carlson (Affordable Housing Alliance), and Patricia Baird (Legal Services of Eastern Michigan)
II. Approval of Minutes
Motion by Mrs. Mortensen, seconded by Mr. Rapanos to approve the Minutes of the March 7, 2011 Regular Meeting, the March 16, 2011 Work Session, and the March 21, 2011 Special Meeting. Motion passed unanimously.
III. Public Comments
IV. New Business
A. Paired Testing Results – Legal Services of Eastern Michigan
Patricia Baird reported that Legal Services of Eastern Michigan appreciates the CDBG funding allocated to her agency for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. They will provide quarterly reports to Planning Department staff prior to Housing Commission meetings. These quarterly reports will include information on testing and outreach, a comparison analysis, best practice reports, and quarterly activity reports. The quarterly report will also include information on any calls received regarding complaints.
Ms. Baird presented comparison data on fair housing testing results for the City of Midland from 2007 through 2011. There have been fewer positive tests for violations of the Fair Housing Law in 2010 and 2011. This is a good trend and the Housing Commission hopes that continues.
The Fair Housing Center is always looking for people who are willing to be testers. If anyone would like to be trained as a tester, or knows of any groups who need fair housing training, please let Patricia know.
B. Affordable Housing Alliance
Roger Mikusek reported that the Affordable Housing Alliance has a waiting list of over 200 potential clients. The past couple of housing studies done for the City of Midland have indicated a need for 500 more units of “affordable” housing. There currently is a lack of available federal funding. Low Income Housing Tax Credits have dried up at the state level. In a current copy of the Midland Daily News, there are four houses for rent in the city and two in the out-county.
The Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA) would like to build an additional 11 units of affordable housing. They own approximately four acres of property on Gerald Court that they would like to develop. The city has allowed their projects PILOT status in the past. They already have 11 units in this area.
In developing the land, they will need one acre for the 11 units of affordable housing. The rest of the land could be subdivided into lots for Habitat for Humanity. They are excited about being able to purchase lots for $20,000 each in the city. Habitat has indicated that their clients desire lots in the city, versus the county. AHA could end up with nine lots to sell, and have one acre remaining to build 11 more rental units for AHA clients. The funding may come in slowly, depending upon how fast Habitat for Humanity purchases the lots.
AHA received two proposals for the installation of additional infrastructure on Gerald Court. One proposal was from the City of Midland’s Engineering Department, in the amount of $330,000, and an estimate of $235,000 from Bartow & King Engineers. The existing road and utilities would need to be extended in order to accommodate the additional 11 units proposed by AHA. They have spent between $10,000 and $20,000 thus far in obtaining engineering drawings. They have had an environmental study done to ensure there are no wetlands on the property.
Habitat for Humanity thinks they can vary the exterior of the houses they build so they do not all appear the same. The goal of both agencies is to help low-income people get into safe, affordable housing.
Mr. Mikusek stated AHA cannot do the project as they would like if they have to borrow the entire amount of money they will need for the development of this area. Sharon Mortensen stated that Habitat is in transition. They have not yet hired a new director. Is the Habitat Board still willing to pursue this endeavor? How long would it be before they could build something? Mr. Mikusek stated that he believes the Habitat Board is still interested in pursuing this partnership. He has no idea how long before they could begin construction.
Cheri King stated she had discussed this potential project with representatives from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and they stated that the construction would have to be done using Davis Bacon regulations. Roger Mikusek stated that he had been in contact with HUD and was told the construction of the Habitat houses and the 11 units for AHA would not have to use Davis Bacon. Cheri will check further with HUD. CDBG funds are not eligible to be used for new construction but they can be used for infrastructure.
Steve Rapanos stated that, as a Housing Commissioner, he would need to understand Habitat’s commitment and HUD’s requirement for Davis Bacon. Roger stated they would need a commitment from Habitat to purchase six to nine lots. He feels there is no way AHA can move forward with this project without approximately $120,000 in CDBG funding for the infrastructure.
C. Housing Commission Fund Balance Sheet
Updated financial information was unavailable at this time from the Finance Department.
D. Sale of 1514 Jefferson Avenue
The City of Midland purchased a house at 1514 Jefferson Avenue in July, 2010 from Midland County. The property was in foreclosure for non-payment of property taxes. Under Michigan law, for the City of Midland to purchase a tax foreclosed property prior to the public auction, the property must be purchased for a “public purpose” and when the city sells the property, any excess revenue over and above the costs the city has invested in the property must be returned to the county.
The house has been brought up to code and looks almost brand new inside. It was listed with a realtor for sale on May 5, 2011. The realtor set the listing price at $79,900. On May 10th, the realtor presented staff with an offer to purchase for $79,900, less an allowance of $2,800 toward the buyer’s closing costs and pre-paids and up to $100 in repairs, if needed. Anticipated costs for acquisition, repairs, and all closing costs are estimated at $75,748.25. This will provide approximately $4,151.75 to return to Midland county’s property foreclosure fund. It has also preserved this housing unit and helped improve the neighborhood.
Motion by Mr. Burgess, seconded by Mrs. Mortensen, to sell 1514 Jefferson Avenue for $79,900. The motion passed unanimously.
E. Future Meeting Date
The next regular Housing Commission meeting will be held on Monday, September 12, 2011.
F. Other Business
Rick Loose reported that the $25,000 grant for the ramp for Cleveland Manor from the Midland Area Community Foundation has been approved. This is a much larger amount than they usually grant. It is from the “Healthy Youth/Healthy Seniors” endowment.
In reference to the discussion about the Affordable Housing Alliance project, Bob Burgess asked if we would want 22 apartments and nine Habitat houses on Gerald Court, all in one concentrated area. Would Shelterhouse be interested in a lot? Perhaps the Housing Commission could find a “champion” for the cause. Perhaps it could be called something like “Darger Woods” in honor of former Housing Commissioner Dick Darger. The remaining Housing Commissioners liked that idea a lot.
Sharon Mortensen thinks Roger Mikusek is looking to the foundations to fund the infrastructure. She does not want to fund infrastructure that will just sit for years. Will AHA be able to obtain tax credits for the project? What about a commitment from Habitat for Humanity?
Steve Rapanos asked how they would find a “champion” for the cause. Mr. Burgess suggested that they get together with the local foundations, local banks, Dow and Dow Corning, and the Federal Home Loan Bank, and put the whole project together and get it funded up front. It is just a matter of getting the right people together to fund the project.
The Housing Commission would like to see projected costs for the entire project from the Affordable Housing Alliance. They would like the projected costs to be current and to have a package to present to the foundations.
A. CDBG Update
Staff met the 1.5 spending goal again this year for HUD. The current ratio is 1.46 times the current year’s grant after the third quarter drawdown. With a few significantly large expenditures in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, that ratio should fall significantly by next year.
The 2011-2012 CDBG grant is $44,585 less than the prior year’s grant. The city will receive $218,842 in CDBG funds for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Staff has made some minor adjustments to the budget that will accommodate this decrease in funding without having a significant impact on any of the subrecipients.
B. CHOICE Update
The 2010-2011 Building Trades project at 1311 W. Union Street is being built to be handicap accessible and barrier free. This is the fourth year in a row that the city has partnered with an agency to provide barrier free housing for one of their clients. Construction on this house is 95 percent complete.
The lots at 1005 North Street and 3308 Aaron Court were sold on March 4, 2011 to Habitat for Humanity.
Midland Public Schools’ Building Trades classes will not be offered during the 2011-2012 school year due to decreasing enrollment. Staff is currently looking into other options, however, without students a house will probably not be built next year.
C. Senior Housing Update
Washington Woods is at 93 percent occupancy. They have 15 apartments ready to rent. There is no one on their waiting list. They have already contacted the individuals on their list aged 55 to 62. The majority of these vacancies are on the east side of the complex and that side requires a meal plan. They are actively marketing units at both market rent and reduced rent to get them filled.
Riverside Place has had 13 individuals move out. They are currently at 100 percent occupancy. They have a very short waiting list. They are conducting routine maintenance to their facility.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:22 p.m.
MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED BY THE HOUSING COMMISSION.