The Housing Authority of the City of Warren formally bid farewell to long-time board member Dale Witherell at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Witherell resigned recently following a 15-year tenure on the board. Remaining board members are commemorating Witherell's service by sending him a clock and a card signed by board and staff.
According to Authority Executive Director Tonya Mitchell-Weston, the authority has already begun searching for candidates to fill the vacancy.
The authority's contest to re-name its Allegheny Village property culminated at the meeting. Steve Luzzi's submission of the name Riverview Terrace was selected by the board out of more than 30 entries. Lozzi will be awarded a $100 prize for his effort.
The authority is still running approximately $152,254 behind where their budget was last year due to a lack of outside subsidy funds.
According to treasurer Tracey Kranak, the authority is currently utilizing reserve funds to meet operating budgets. Kranak said there is no fiscal crisis eminent due to the situation.
"We could survive a couple of years, easily, just on our reserves," Kranak said.
Operating costs for the month of March totaled approximately $120,602.
Kranak also warned the board to expect less funding from section 8 housing vouchers. She announced the funds would be shrinking from approximately $8,800 to approximately $5,000 each month.
Mitchell-Weston reported the authority's Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) grant was not approved due to a technicality. According to her, ROSS grants rely on other matching funds to make a determination on applicant eligibility. She said the authority had applied for other funding using the name Warren County Housing Authority instead of Housing Authority of the City of Warren and was denied the grant as a result. The authority plans to pursue another grant under the ROSS program now that the mistake has been discovered.
The authority will be undergoing Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspections the week of April 23. According to Mitchell-Weston, the authority is optimistic about the inspections going well. She noted authority maintenance personnel have been preparing for the inspections for some time.
"I just want to publicly acknowledge our top-notch maintenance team," Mitchell-Weston told the board. "They've really attacked this REAC inspection."
Mitchell-Weston reported new authority rules and policy are being worked on, saying of the process, "we're right on track so far."
The authority announced they are looking into grants to improve their Canterbury Courts property. The board has also decided to urge the property board to become more active in managing the facility. The authority is attempting to improve the cost-to-income ratio of the property.
Section 8 housing is currently at 98 percent utilization with one voucher being issued in March and 15 applicants currently under review.
Mitchell-Weston noted the authority has awarded a contract to perform a financial audit and inspections. Meanwhile, she said, advertisement for a solicitor and an exterminator have been issued.