Completion of projects sought

Published 5:25 pm Saturday, September 6, 2014


Washington’s clawback exposure related to two housing projects could be kept at a minimum — if specific deadlines are met and state and federal agencies are lenient with the city.

For several years, the developer of the Northgate subdivision, the developer of the Keysville Road subdivision, Washington officials and state officials have been working together to provide homes to people displaced by hurricanes and low- to-moderate-income people.

At the same time, those same people have been working to minimize the amount the city would have to pay back because conditions of state grants related to providing those homes were not fully met. Several extensions to meet those requirements have been made in recent years.

About a year ago, the city began working with the Washington Housing Authority and Metropolitan Housing to avoid clawbacks related to efforts to provide affordable housing to some area residents. For several years, the city has been working with the developers — Metropolitan Housing’s Rev. David Moore for the Keysville Road project and Northgate’s Jason Briley — to bring about closure on those projects.

“Where we are with Keysville is he’s got the three homes out there. Our understanding is that within the next two weeks that first home is going to close,” City Manager Brian Alligood said Aug. 29. “Then within a couple weeks after that, the second home will close. The third home is probably going to be about a month out. He’s got two more to build. He’s got to have them built by Nov. 30. He says he’s going to be able to do that. He says he’s going to get all five homes — well, three of them are already pretty much completely done. Then, the additional two completely done, sold and occupied … by Nov. 30. And then that gets us out of it altogether.”

If that schedule can be meet, according to Alligood, the state is willing to consider refunding us the money we’ve already had to pay back, which was $75,000.”

An agreement to pay back the $250,000 grant over 10 years at $25,000 a year was rejected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Alligood said.

“We made the first payment of $25,000 last year. … Then they said, “Here’s your time frame. You’ve got to meet all of this.’ We were supposed to meet that by July of this year. That certainly didn’t happen. We were supposed to write them a check for $75,000 July 1. We haven’t done that yet because we said, ‘We’re there; we’re almost there.’ We only had to have two homes built. He’s got three so far, but they’re not occupied yet. So, they said, “OK, we’ll give you a little bit of breathing room because you’ve got three buildings but you don’t have them occupied yet. If you can go ahead and get them occupied’ — and we gave them the schedule, a couple of weeks — ‘we’ll be lenient on you,’” Alligood said.

If the five houses are completed by the end of November, the city could be reimbursed the $25,000 it’s already paid, Alligood said.

“That remains to be seen though,” he added.

As for the Northgate situation, it’s “kind of under a similar kind of thing, except that they’re not as far delinquent. They still have a couple — I forget how many homes they still have outstanding. The plan with them is — they’re making progress. The lady from DCA (Division of Community Assistance) was here the first of the week (Aug. 25-Aug. 29) doing a site-monitoring visit. We met them. They’ve got a little bit more comfort level with (Northgate). We’re going to ask them (DCA) for an extension because we don’t think (Northgate) is going meet it either.”

Should DCA not allow another extension and request the city payback some of the grant funds, the Washington Housing Authority will make those payments instead of the city, Alligood said. That information comes from a conversation he had with Marc Recko, executive director of the Washington Housing Authority, Alligood said.

WHA is helping find qualified owners for the homes in Northgate.

“Currently, what we’re going with them – and we just started that a little while ago — is when they sold a home, we took a portion of it and put it into escrow to cover some of that grant that might have to be paid back,” Alligood said.

The grant conditions related to providing homes to people displaced by hurricanes have been met, Alligood said. Conditions related to providing homes to low-to-moderate-income people, have not been satisfied yet, he noted.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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