Mercer County Affordable Housing Fund
MERCER COUNTY AFFORDABLE HOUSING
FUND BOARD MEETING
Thursday – November 17, 2005
Mercer County Regional Planning Commission Offices
–R. Glenn Adams, DeWitt Boosel, Dr. Joyce M. Cuff, Victoria Hosick, William
Morocco, Randy Riddle, Suzanne Rosenfelder and Bob Siegfried.
– Susan Kovacik (Good Shepherd Center, Inc.), Angelo Stamoolis and Fern
Torok (Community Counseling Center of Mercer County), Daniel Gracenin
(Executive Director, Mercer County Regional Planning Commission) and Brian
Barnhizer (Senior Planner, MCRPC).
– Fran Billen, Ron Errett, Donald A. Koontz, Shirley Logan and Pamela Prince
Mr. Boosel, Chairperson, called the meeting to
order at 7:05 p.m.
Since there was no quorum at the last meeting,
there were no minutes to review/approve.
Mr. Boosel began the meeting by introducing
himself and asking for those present to introduce themselves and explain their
affiliations. Once this was done, Mr. Boosel began to describe the history,
mission and purpose of the program and the board. Mr. Barnhizer passed out a
number of items for the board to review. Among the items were a summary of the
Mercer County Affordable Housing Fund, the 2001 Ordinance establishing the
Mercer County Affordable Housing Fund and the board itself, the 2001
Resolution establishing the makeup and functions of the board, and the 2002
Bylaws under which the board operates. Mr. Boosel described each of the
handouts in turn, and answered a number of questions from new board members.
After this discussion was finished, Mr. Boosel
went on to describe the projects that had been awarded grants by the board in
2003 and 2004, along with the financial status of the fund. Three projects had
received funding: 1) The Community Counseling Center of Mercer County (CCC)
was awarded $32,500, which was used to defray the cost of CCC’s purchase of
a home in the City of Hermitage. That home is now housing three mental health
customers that are under staff supervision. 2) The Mercer County Community
Action Partnership (MCCAP) was awarded $20,770.80, which was used to assist in
the construction of several new homes and new rental units in the Cities of
Sharon and Farrell. The total project cost was approximately $736,000. 3) The
Mercer County Housing Authority (MCHA) was awarded $100,000 in order to assist
in the construction of a 40 unit senior housing project in the City of
Hermitage. The total cost for this project is over $5 million, and work is
still underway. The Act 137 grant funding awarded to these 3 projects totals
$153,270. According to a November 16, 2005 memo
from Mercer County Recorder Rhonda McClelland, subtracting the $153,270 from
the full fund balance of $632,816 leaves an unencumbered fund balance of
$479,546 for future projects. Mr. Gracenin pointed out to the board that the
fund balance increases each month by $10,000 to $12,000, which has led to the
nearly one-half million dollars in currently unencumbered funds. Board members
discussed the issue of the fund balance for several minutes, and agreed that
it might become necessary to make more people aware of the program’s
The board then moved to review the two
proposals received for the third round of funding requests. These proposals
were received from the Good Shepherd Center, Inc. ($11,100) and the Community
Counseling Center of Mercer County ($80,000). Combined, the two proposals
requested a total of $91,100 in funds. A summary of the projects as presented
by the applicants follows, along with subsequent discussions by the board.
Susan Kovacik, the executive director of the Good Shepherd Center, presented
the Center’s proposal to add kitchen facilities to their current emergency
shelter in Greenville, along with a timed alarm system that would allow
temporary residents easy access while keeping out non-residents. The addition
of a kitchen facility will allow temporary residents to stay for periods of up
to 30 days, giving them time to find longer term housing and to receive needed
counseling services. Ms. Kovacik explained that there is a significant need
for this type of housing in the Greenville area, and asked the board to
approve this request for funding.
Board members spent some time discussing the merits of the proposed project.
Mr. Siegfried and Ms. Rosenfelder asked Ms. Kovacik several questions relating
to insurance coverage, resident and staff safety issues, and whether other
organizations provided similar services in the Greenville area. After Ms.
Kovacik responded, the board moved to score the proposal using the established
selection criteria. Mr. Barnhizer tallied the score sheets. The averaged score
for the proposal was 25.625 points out of a possible 40 points.
Angelo Stamoolis, the executive director of the Community Counseling Center,
requested $80,000, of which approximately $54,000 would be used to pay down a
portion of the mortgage of a CCC owned property on South Irvine Avenue. The
remaining $26,000 would be used to pay for maintenance and repair work on
various structures. Ms. Torok explained that these funds would free up other
CCC funds which would be used for operational activities, making this
application a request for operational funding.
members discussed the application at length. There was concern expressed about
the funding request exceeding the operational funds cap of 20%. The board was
unsure whether the 20% cap would apply to the total in the fund account or to
20% of the amount placed in the account over a one year period. The board
ultimately decided that 20% of the total fund could be applied to operational
activities. In order to formalize that decision, Mr. Riddle made a motion
that 20% of the total unencumbered fund balance be made available for
applications for operational funds. The motion was seconded by Dr. Cuff, and
passed unanimously. The board then moved to score the application. Mr.
Barnhizer tallied the score sheets, and calculated an averaged score of 30.75
points out of a possible 40 points.
Once the scores were reported, Mr.
Morocco made a motion to recommend both applications to the County
Commissioners for approval. The motion was seconded by Mr. Riddle, and was
passed by the board with two abstentions.
Mr. Gracenin next asked for nominations from
the floor for the positions of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Secretary.
A motion was made by Mr. Adams to nominate Mr.
Boosel for Chairperson of the Mercer County Affordable Housing Fund Board. The
motion was seconded by Dr. Cuff, and passed unanimously.
A motion was made by Mr. Riddle to nominate
Mr. Siegfried for Vice-Chairperson of the Mercer County Affordable Housing
Fund. The motion was seconded by Mr. Morocco, and passed unanimously.
A motion was made by Mr. Boosel to nominate
Dr. Cuff for Secretary of the Mercer County Affordable Housing Fund. The
motion was seconded by Mr. Adams, and passed unanimously.
The board agreed to meet again in mid to late
March, unless a project that needed immediate consideration in the intervening
time warranted an earlier meeting. Mr. Boosel indicated that he would like to
set up a committee in the near future in order to examine some of the issues
and questions raised over the guidelines, threshold and selection criteria
discussed earlier in the evening. The board members agreed. Mr. Gracenin
informed the board that a minimum of three meetings are supposed to be
scheduled per year, in accordance with the 2001 Resolution that established
the board. The board agreed to try to hold at least three meetings each year.
In other business, Mr. Gracenin stated that
the MCRPC has been working on a number of multi-municipal comprehensive plans
around the county, and explained in a general way how the efforts of the board
tie in with these comprehensive plans. Mr. Barnhizer informed the board that
the state Brownfields for Housing program was accepting applications for
funding until mid December from counties that have active affordable housing
programs. Even though notices had been sent out in late October by the MCRPC
to various organizations and municipalities, no applications had been
submitted to date.
A motion was made to adjourn the meeting by
Mr. Siegfried. Mr. Morocco seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at
Certified as true and correct,
Dr. Joyce M. Cuff -- Secretary
County Regional Planning Commission
2491 Highland Road, Hermitage, PA 16148
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