ARHA Approves '05 Budget

ARHA Approves '05 Budget

With minimal discussion, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $26 million operating budget for 2005 at its regular meeting Monday night.

Following a presentation by ARHA Finance Director Derek McDaniel at the March 7 meeting, board members had three weeks to review the proposed fiscal blueprint and raise questions. However, as of Monday afternoon, prior to the meeting, "We have received no questions from the board," said William Dearman, executive director, ARHA.

The new budget is a $2 million increase over the present operating budget. It also projects an anticipated $371,843 surplus at the conclusion of this fiscal year.

Due to a change in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant procedures, this budget is calculated on "Project-Based Budgeting," according to Dearman. That procedure requires that each project, within local housing authorities, be individually accountable.

Prior to the opening of the regular ARHA meeting there was a public hearing on "Allowing issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds for the benefit of Fairfield Residential Acquisition and Rehabilitation on a low and moderate income multifamily project" designated as Village Square in the City of Manassas.

SINCE MANASSAS does not have a local housing authority other authorities throughout the state are authorized "to act as a conduit between the developer and the state" for such monies, according to Connie Lenox, director of development, ARHA.

"We actually do this for a number of projects. At one point Arlington did not have an authority and we acted as a conduit for them. We also have another bond issue for a different project in Manassas named Colonial Village," Lenox said.

ARHA is paid a $10,000 application fee plus a one-half percent issuer fee. They also receive a monitoring fee of one-eighth of one percent each year the bond is viable.

The amount of the bond varies with each project and is usually based on a maximum amount for an individual project. In the case of the Fairfield bond the maximum allowable is $26 million, according to Lenox. But, it can be any amount less than that cap.

During the regular ARHA meeting the board voted to approve the resolution allowing issuance of the bond. They also approved legal counsel to represent ARHA on tax-exempt revenue bond issues.

In other actions, the board:

• Discussed the continuing problem of unauthorized visitors to the Ladrey High Rise as well as authorized visitors not following the registration rules when visiting residents.

• Was told by Lenox that the off-site projects, which are part of the overall Chatham Square redevelopment, are presently 90 plus days behind schedule from being ready for occupancy.

• Was informed by Dearman that the Baltimore office of HUD had informed him they would be visiting ARHA offices to conduct a procedures review. Presently, a review of ARHA finances is under way by the HUD Inspector General's office.