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Housing Commission Minutes 1/24/2008

Minutes
Thursday, January 24, 2008

ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION

MINUTES

January 24, 2008

 

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Bill Smith called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. at the Community Development Building at 51 Winburn Way., Ashland, OR  97520.

 

Commissioners Present:

 

SOU Liaison:  Alexandra Armarotico, absent

Bill Smith

 

 

Richard Billin

 

Council Liaison:  Alice Hardesty

Regina Ayars

 

 

Steve Hauck

 

Staff Present:: 

Aaron Benjamin

 

Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

Graham Lewis

 

 

Carol Voisin

 

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:    Bill Smith stated that he was present at the prior meeting and that the minutes should be modified to show that. Voisin/Billin m/s to approve the minutes with correction to add Bill Smith as present for the December 20th, 2007 meeting.  Voice Vote:  Approved. 

 

PUBLIC FORUM

No one came forth to speak.

 

REPORTS AND UPDATES

Subcommittee Report

Education No meeting/report.  

Land Use – No meeting/report.  

Finance –.To report under Housing Trust Fund Agenda Item.

Staff Update – CDBG Program – Goldman provided the Commission with an update of the CDBG program.  He said the City had issued a request for proposals on January 11th which is due on February 22, 2008.  He explained that there has been a Federal reduction in CDBG funds of 3.2% nationally and that Ashland saw a 3.7% decrease in available funding from 2007 to 2008.  The funds decreased from $212,738 to $204831.  He noted that such a reduction was anticipated and thus in issuing the 2008 RFP the amount advertised as available included a 5% reduction.  As a result $345,000 was advertised and as the reduction was not as high as 5% the actual amount available is $347,864.  Goldman said that the RFP as issued allows the City to award more or less depending on available funds.

 

 Hardesty questioned Goldman regarding the need to expend funds. Goldman explained a HUD timeliness standard that requires that we have no more than 1.5 times our annual award as carryover. Therefore at the end of 2008 we can not have more than approximately $300,000 or the excess it is subject to recapture by HUD.  He further explained that the City needs to make an award to expend the funds in this program year.  Hardesty followed in asking what happens if we don’t receive applications.  Goldman explained that if the City receives no applications, or if the applications received are not awarded the funds, then the City would likely want to draft an Action Plan that provides the City the ability to use the funds directly to acquire property.  He explained that this was the case last year and the City could have applied the funds if an opportunity arose, but in the coming year if that same thing came to pass, due to the need to expend funds quickly, the City would likely want to more aggressively pursue a purchase and not simply wait for opportunities.

 

Liaison Reports

Council Alice Hardesty mentioned that the City Council was looking at acquisition potential for property on Clay Street.  Goldman explained what had been previously reported in the Daily Tidings regarding this project. Hardesty notified the Commission of upcoming meetings that may be of interest to them including the scheduled community meeting on the Croman Mill site scheduled for 7:00 January 30th at the Bellview Grange.  She mentioned the ongoing City Facilities Master-planning process, of which she and Carol Voisin are members of the committee, and she noted that Paula Brown is the project manager. It was suggested that future Housing Commission agendas include updates on this process under liaison reports.

Parks no report

Schools no report – it was noted that with Bill Street’s resignation from the Commission there is no longer a designated liaison to the Ashland School Board.  No members of the Housing Commission expressed interest in filling that vacant position.

Planning no report

 

 

 

HOUSING TRUST FUND

Goldman spoke regarding the development of the Housing Trust Fund platform as it is currently presented to the Housing Commission.   He explained that the Finance Sub-committee has examined a number of sections for inclusion in the

platform of the trust fund to be considered by the full Commission. These items included:

• Section 1 - Eligible Applicants

• Section 2 - Eligible Uses and Activities

• Section 3 – Preferences

• Section 4 – Fund Administration

• Section 5 – Match Requirements

• Section 6 – Allocation of Funds

 

Goldman noted that at prior meetings of the full Housing Commissions Sections 1, 2, and 3 have been discussed as shown and at this time the finance subcommittee requests that the full Commission concentrate review the sections 4, 5, and 6  which have not been previously been seen by the Commission.  He further stated that as it is a draft the Commission can revisit any part of the document including the sections previously reviewed.

 

Goldman began to go over  the components of section 4, 5, and 6.

Goldman explained that at the subcommittee level there was some question regarding whether the amount of funds available through a Notice of Funding Availability should be a fixed dollar number ($20,000) or a percentage of the annual amount of revenue available. The Commission believed the NOFA should be limit to 10% as opposed to a fixed amount.

 

Goldman explained that early discussions by the Commission indicated that the HTF was not intended to be the sole source of funds for projects, rather that the intent was for the HTF to leverage other funds in support of projects.  He explained that the 50% limit was included to ensure that the HTF was not the majority interest in a project. Hauck explained that from his experience 50% would be a substantial contribution as most grantors want to provide only 10-20% of the project funds. There was concurrence that a 50% as a match limit was acceptable.

 

Concern was raised regarding how the City would verify land value in relation to meeting a match requirement. To address this it was suggested that the value be determined “by a City Approved certified appraisal” in section 5. 

 

Voisin recommended finding out how Bend administers its Housing Trust Fund.  Goldman stated that he recalls Voisin had previously requested such but he had not yet obtained that information.

 

Cate Hartzell was recognized to speak from the audience and she questioned whether the HTF as drafted directs funds to the “gaps” identified in the City for various types of housing.  Goldman responded that the selection criteria ‘D’ is intended to address this and he read the following: The project addresses the unmet housing needs as identified in the Ashland Housing Needs analysis or Consolidated Plan. The lower the income level that is targeted, the higher the ranking the project shall be given.

The Commission discussed whether this criteria addressed the concern and there was concurrence that it would better address the desire to provide needed housing types if it was split into two separate weighted criteria as follows:

D. The project addresses the unmet housing needs as identified in the Ashland Housing Needs analysis or Consolidated Plan (0-15).

E. The lower the income level that is targeted, the higher the ranking the project shall be given (0-15)

 

Voisin recommended that the platform include wording that precluded the use of HTF to pay for City Staff. Billin suggested that the final bullet point in section 2 under eligible uses could be modified to explicitly exempt the use of the HTF to pay for City Staff.

Other uses as deemed appropriate by the Ashland City Council as supporting the development or preservation of affordable housing within the City of Ashland with the exception of funding City Staff.[italics shows language discussed for inclusion]

There was concurrence from Commissioners that housing trust funds should not be used to support staffing, and that limitation should be noted clearly under the uses section.

 

 

PRESENTATION TO COUNCILGoldman stated that the presentation has been postponed and will be on February 19 at 7:00 pm. Goldman went over the memo listing individual topics for discussion. The Commissioners were comfortable on the topics on which they will each speak.  

Smith questioned whether it would be appropriate to make an impassioned plea to people watching to become involved with the Housing Commission and attend regular meetings.  The Commission felt it was a good opportunity to do so.

It was suggested that the Commissioners each provide a personal testimonial as to what they do in their professional lives and what brought them to serve on the Housing Commission.  Commissioners agreed that such testimonials would be valuable in the presentation provided they are brief and limited to just the main presenters.

Goldman suggested that the presentation could conclude by mentioning the Housing Commissioner Vacancy in the interest of recruitment, as well as stating the time and place of the regular commission meetings..

 

ASSIGNMENT OF COMMISSIONERS TO SUBCOMMITTEES

Goldman explained that he’d forwarded this item to Smith for inclusion on the Agenda as with Bill Street’s recent resignation the Education subcommittee was now a committee of one, Aaron Benjamin. He also noted that he’d spoken with Graham Lewis regarding subcommittee assignments and that Lewis had expressed interest in serving on the land use subcommittee.   Goldman further explained that subcommittee membership has been relatively fixed for a while and this would be an opportunity to switch subcommittees if commissioners wished to follow other interests. However, he did note that in the finance committee for example the consistency was valuable.

Commissioners discussed their interest in remaining on their present subcommittees although Hardesty stated she would be willing to serve on the education subcommittee. It was also stated by Smith that Streets replacement and Alexandra Amarotico (SOU Liaison) would be available for appointments to subcommittees or liaison positions.

Current subcommittee membership was listed as follows:

Finance: Voisin, Billin, Hauck

Land Use: Ayars, Lewis, Smith, Hardesty

Education: Hardesty, Benjamin

 

Smith noted that the School Liaison position was also at issue. 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS AND MEETINGS

Graham Lewis noted that the League of Women Voters was sponsoring a meeting on Homelessness at the Ashland Public Library at noon of February 21st, 2008.

 

Croman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan Public Workshop  7:00 PM – 9:00 PM;  Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bellview Grange; 1050 Tolman Creek Rd.

 

City Council Regular Meetings

7:00-10:00PM: Tuesday February 19th, 2008 – Housing Commission Presentation

7:00-10:00PM: Tuesday February 19th, 2008 – Clay Creek (Chitwood) Project RFQ review

 

Housing Commission Regular Meeting

5:30-7:30 PM; Thursday February 28, 2008

Community Development Building

                Finance subcommittee            – 2/12/08 @ 5:30 -6:30

                Education subcommittee         – 2/13/08 @ 5:00 -6:00

                Land Use subcommittee         – 2/13/08 @ 4:00-5:00 (Subcommittee members made a one time change to this date and time due to schedule conflicts)

 

Steve Hauck mentioned due to scheduled surgery he will not be in attendance at the February or March regular meetings of the Housing Commission. Commissioners wished Hauck well.

 

 

Adjournment at 7:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Brandon Goldman, Housing Program Specialist

 

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