Minutes THA January 2017

Trumbull Housing Authority

January 23, 2017

4:00 pm

Community Room of Stern Village

 

Commissioners Present: Commissioners Suzanne Donofrio, Susan Fatse, Janice Kopchik

 

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

 

Commissioners Absent: Deborah Dowd and Paul Niebuhr

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:06 pm by Mrs. Kopchik.   Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Past Minutes

Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of December 28, 2016. Ms. Polansky noted two changes to the Commissioners’ names – Susan Fatse and Suzanne Donofrio.  Page 1 under Unfinished Business, second to last sentence should read – “voting to elect a Tenant Commission”.  All references to the State in New Business #2 should be capitalized. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio to approve as amended.  Approved unanimously.

 

Treasurer’s Report

Ms. Polansky reported in the absence of Mrs. Dowd for the six months ending December 31, 2016. Stern Village and Stern Center currently has an overall loss of approximately $11,840. This is attributable to the numerous vacancies in the Village and Center, reducing the rental income, as well as additional legal expenses, costs of advertising for the wait list openings and necessary credit checks.  Currently the reserve balance is $1,519,219, which is approximately $6,843 for each unit in the entire complex.

 

Executive Director’s Report

Ms. Polansky noted the overall cash position as of December 31, 2016 showed a balance of $1,008,455, including the investment account. As of December 31, 2016, Accounts Payable was approximately $72,976, including the PILOT accrual for the current year.

 

The loss has decreased from last month. The biggest issue is the loss of rental income which will be made up.   Water usage has increased as well as the fee, maintenance costs have increased due to overtime with snow, plumbing issues and rehabbing units and some additional legal fees.

 

Ms. Polansky noted they are off to a great start this year. Vacancies have been filled and new residents have joined the Stern Village family.  Many have already moved in and have participated in activities.  There are two vacancies in the Congregate.  Ms. Polansky will continue to look at other projects to further improve the facility within the realm of affordability, need and security.

 

Several issues have been tackled and she is doing her best to prevent additional problems before they arise. Since December they have:

  1. Replaced a roof on one of the buildings in the village
  2. Started to replace the subfloors as deemed unsafe
  3. Looked at several potential contractors for the heat pumps at Stern Village, looking at the electric panels and units. Jeff Holt (Manager) has answered several questions. The information for bidding on the heat pumps is on the Town’s website.
  4. Started to compile the necessary documents and associated costs to apply for SSHP 2017 for the Congregate and 2017 Small Cities Application.
  5. Worked on implementing a new lease for the Village and Congregate when tenant recertifications are conducted in March. A draft lease has been reviewed with approximately 50 residents at 2 separate meetings and they had positive feedback.

 

Unfinished Business

No unfinished business.

 

New Business

  1. Ms. Polansky noted the Town is applying for the 2017 Small Cities Grant for Stern Village. They are looking at $800,000 to be used to replace the windows. Ms. Polansky is working with UI to offset some of the cost through incentives. George Wiles, from Wiles Architects, is working on this initiative as he has been involved with the project from the beginning. Mr. Wiles spoke on improving the building envelope to include changes in the energy codes implemented in October 2016 noting that any window over 5-7 years in age is not up-to-date according to code. The windows in the complex are much older and they will be replaced with high efficiency windows which will improve thermal performance. He reviewed the replacement procedure and the scope of his firm with regard to the installation. 905 windows are planned to be replaced. Mr. Wiles will provide information to UI as the scope of work needs to be described in the RFP. Ms. Polansky noted the DOH requires different on-site visits which makes the architectural firm a part of the project.

 

After discussion, Mrs. Kopchik motioned to approve Wiles & Architects to provide constructions, bid documents and construction administration services for the replacement of all exterior windows in 186 units of Stern Village. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved.

 

Stern Village Resident Association Update

Mrs. Fisher noted there will be an election to fill a vacant position on the Association Board. This will be in held in February and supervised by Kim.  Nominees will not be held to the prior list but will include any resident who wishes to submit their names.

 

The Board will need to devise a plan for others to report to the THA Commission in the absence of the elected official. It was suggested by Mrs. Donofrio that the Association plan on making a report at all Commission meetings whether by the elected official or a stand-in.

 

Resident Comments

Paul Littlefield read the following statement:  “With all due respect, let it be spread on the minutes of this meeting that the Stern Village Tenants’ Association, Inc. strongly urges this Board stop the installation of mini split heat pumps in the apartments of Stern Village to replace the efficient electric-resistance baseboard heating and window AC units, out of concern for the safety and wellbeing of elderly leaseholders.

 

Consider that the large body of objectively based studies, including the Eversource electric company, conclusively demonstrates that heat pumps are not a safe alternative for use in elderly housing as they fail to adequately heat the apartments. They create drafts and they are not dependable.

 

Heat pumps are notorious for their inadequate production of heating and cooling, when heating and cooling are needed the most. The literature states that when the outside temperature drops below 25 degrees F, the heat pumps fail to maintain adequate heat for elderly tenants.  Heat pumps fail to adequately distribute sufficient heating to the bathrooms.

 

An architect and an engineer were hired but you failed to get a consultant in gerontology, one who specializes in the knowledge of the elderly. Installing heat pumps will but the elderly tenants at risk.

 

Heat pumps are high tech and high maintenance. They need to be cleared of ice and snow to function.  Can you see an elderly heart patient going out in a snow storm to clear off the snow and ice?  The costs to maintain and service heat pumps will not be cheap and will add to the pressures for rent increases.

 

This Board and the First Selectman have a duty to do due diligence. You need to do your homework and, if you do, you will find out that the installation of heat pumps will not accomplish what you intend and that they will have the unintended consequences of putting the elderly leaseholders at risk.  It is your obligation and responsibility to provide decent, safe and sanitary facilities.  Considerable time has been put into research and we leave with you a token of such research from Eversource and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.  Respectfully,   Paul Littlefield”.  Mr. Littlefield provided additional information to the Commissioners to review.

 

Sandra Fisher – stated she understands the current heating system will remain in the event of a failure of the heat pumps.  She believes that anything the Board would approve would not be detrimental to the residents.  She also noted that the Maintenance staff is great and would like a letter to be written to acknowledge what they do.

 

Kim has helped with the meetings of the new Tenant Association and has guided them as a new Board. She will be with them for the next six months and will be able to help them know what to do in the future.

 

Joan – Agreed about the windows.  Her concern is air conditioning in the summer with respiratory problems.  She requested that the next issue to be addressed be the walkways because people are falling.

 

Adjournment

There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to adjourn the meeting at 4:41 pm. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse.  Approved unanimously.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Barbara Crandall

Clerk

 

 

 

Minutes Special THA May 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
May 9, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik, Commissioner Thelma Burr and Suzanne Donofrio

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

The meeting was called to order at 4:02 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mrs. Kopchik moved the Resident Comments to the end of the meeting.

New Business
Discussion and Possible Action regarding the Stern Village Tenants Association – Mrs. Kopchik noted that at the February 22, 2016 Trumbull Housing Authority Board meeting, Kim from TOVAH discussed Project Reach and her role in working with the residents of the Trumbull Housing Authority through Project Reach. On behalf of the residents of the Trumbull Housing Authority, Kim requested that the Trumbull Housing Authority Board of Commissioners engage the legal counsel of the Trumbull Housing Authority to act upon the interests and desires of the residents who wish to participate in their community via the Tenant Association and ensure that they are provided with equal opportunity to do so. Minutes are available from that meeting for review.

Mrs. Kopchik introduced Attorney Chris Russo who provided the findings of the Stern Village Tenants Association (SVTA).

Mr. Russo stated he was asked to look into the compliance aspect of the Stern Village Tenants Association with regard to state and federal law. The laws were reviewed and he corresponded with multiple attorneys that were representing Mr. Littlefield who is a resident here and the Stern Village Tenants Association. They requested a number of documents from each of them.

He noted the basic path the law goes through starts with Chapter 128. Sec. 8-41(b). This Chapter of the CT General Statutes deals with zoning, planning, and housing community development. This particular chapter also talks about municipal housing projects. The section deals with tenant commissioners but also deals with tenant organizations. This was reviewed as to what direction would be an appropriate tenant organization at Stern Village. Section 8-41(b) reads

“The authority shall designate a tenant organization as a recognized jurisdiction wide tenant organization only if the members of the governing body of such tenant organization were elected through a jurisdiction wide election and such tenant organization satisfies the requirements for election jurisdiction wide resident councils pursuant to regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing Development HUD.”

The Connecticut law directs to the federal law for standards that must be followed. CT 24 CFR 964 is the federal regulation they refer to. This lists a number of requirements.

The purpose of the regulation is to recognize the importance of resident’s involvement in creating a positive living environment and actively participating in the overall mission of public housing. The policy on tenant participation is that HUD promotes resident participation in the active involvement of residents in all aspects of the housing authority overall mission operation. As long as proper procedures are followed, the housing authority shall recognize the duly elected resident council to participate fully through a working relationship with the housing authority. HUD encourages housing authorities to work together. The federal law is connected to the state law and they say the same thing. The important thing is that proper procedures are followed. The housing authority has a duty to make sure that proper procedures are followed and these procedures are laid out in regulation. Mr. Russo focused on the procedures which are related to the Stern Village/Trumbull Housing Authority situation.

One section is 964.115 and it deals with resident council requirements. Resident council and tenant organizations are really interchangeable. It states a resident council must meet each of the following requirements in order to receive official recognition from the housing authority. Mr. Russo stressed the requirements that were important:

1. Must adopt written procedures such as bylaws which provide for the election of residents to the governing board by the voting membership of the residents residing in the housing. This has to be on a regular basis at least once every three years.
2. Written procedures must also provide for a recall election by the voting membership and the threshold for a recall election shall not be less than 10 percent of the voting membership.
3. Must have a democratically selected governing board that is elected by the voting membership. At a minimum, the governing board should consist of 5 elected board members. The voting membership must consist of heads of household and other resident of at least 18 years of age and older and whose name appears on the lease. The term voting membership is key because if there is not a proper voting membership and your bylaws call for a voting membership, it is a fatal flaw in the bylaws. This must be according with the federal law.
4. Election procedures and standards section is about bylaws and how those organizations are constituted. A resident council shall use an independent third party to oversee elections and recall procedures. This is not the housing authority or the tenant organization. The following minimum standards for election procedures must be followed:
a. All procedures must assure fair and frequent election of resident council members at least once every three years for each member.
b. Each member of the resident council shall adopt and issue election and recall procedures in their bylaws.
c. Election procedures shall include qualifications for office, frequency of elections and procedures for recall and limits, if desired.
d. All voting members of the resident community must be given at least 30 days notice for nominations and elections. The notice should include a description of election procedures, eligibility requirements and dates of nominations and elections.
e. If a resident council fails to satisfy HUD minimum standards for fair and frequent elections, or fails to follows its own election procedures as adopted, HUD shall require the housing authority to withdraw recognition of the resident council.

The Stern Village Tenants Association would need to meet these requirements. Mr. Russo was contacted by Attorney William Palmieri who represented the Stern Village Tenant Association and Mr. Littlefield. He was requested to provide documents related to these requirements and he was unable to produce any. Next Attorney William Whewell was contacted on 3/15/16 for documents relating to meeting these requirements and several other documents. Response was received on 3/29 and no documents were provided. Mr. Russo read the response which is attached to these minutes.

A copy of the original bylaws was also reviewed but there is no evidence they have been revised. There are several requirements missing with regard to elections and voting threshold. There is also a problem with member dues being required to vote. This is not a requirement under HUD. With HUD, you have to be head of household with a lease with Stern Village. This all compromises whether the Stern Village Tenant Association should be recognized. No election information has been received. If it was not in compliance with one of these requirements, the housing authority would need to withdraw recognition. In this case, none of the requirements have been met.

Mr. Russo has instructed the housing authority, even if there was never any recognition given to the SVTA, to make clear they are withdrawing any recognition of the SVTA. It does not follow with federal or state law and violates the standards in numerous areas. Unfortunately, the attorneys for the other side did not provide any documentation or cooperate with requests. The federal law encourages the housing authority to be active in engaging a tenant organization. It was the opinion of the SVTA that the housing authority had no oversight of the SVTA. Some internal topics are not within the oversight of the housing authority but making sure it is duly elected and the voting membership is appropriate is on the housing authority to make sure it is done in accordance with the law.

The housing authority has been advised to proactively move to a duly elected and constituted organization. The housing authority and tenant organization should be working together on decisions and the law actively encourages the housing authority to do so. He is advising the housing authority to withdraw recognition of the SVTA and also push to get a properly constituted tenant organization.

This meeting was noticed by agenda and a robo call was sent out. A document request was sent to his lawyer which stated the housing authority needed this information. We did not believe this organization was duly elected and this information would let us determine if this is the case. It was made clear they did not feel it was duly elected and that a new one should be formed. There has been a lot of time put towards this issue.

Mrs. Kopchik made a motion to approve the findings of Attorney Russo detailed in the submitted Opinion Letter addressed to Harriet Polansky, Executive Director of Stern Village, on May 2, 2016 and pursuant to those findings, to formally withdraw recognition of the Stern Village Tenants Association as a duly elected tenant organization pursuant to Chapter 128, Section 8-41(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes and 24 CFR 964 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.

Kim from TOVAH applauded the efforts of the Board of Commissioners. This situation is not typically seen and by making this motion and decision it opens up the door to work towards and establish a duly elected resident association. Kim presented a time line of events to move this forward which is attached to the minutes. She also discussed the updating of the bylaws and elections.

Question was asked regarding the League of Women Voters and the legality of the election. The issue has been that since the people were elected they have not functioned in a way that is consistent with State and Federal law. Mr. Russo noted he had requested this material from the attorney and it was not provided. It is unknown if the election was done properly. If Mr. Littlefield wants to contest anything, he would need to provide information for review. It was noted in the Opinion Letter that the association was not in compliance. Mrs. Kopchik noted that Mr. Littlefield was reminded at all the meetings that he could only speak for himself, not the tenant association.

Resident Comments
In moving forward, we will not be mentioning tenants association. Kim noted that all correspondence will be written on TOVAH letterhead until the bylaws are approved. There is no reason to address the old tenant association.

Jackie Hyzynski –hopes that this is an end to the situation and that we can move forward before the State doesn’t have any money to help us.

Adjournment
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to adjourn the meeting at 4:48 pm. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

Minutes Special THA September 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
September 6, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Susan Fatse and Thelma Burr

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky; George Wiles, Wiles + Architects

Commissioners Absent: Suzanne Donofrio

The meeting was called to order at 4:07 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Please Note: These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

Mrs. Kopchik noted the reason for the special board meeting was to discuss the possible action regarding an addendum to the approved AIA contract for Wiles + Architects’ participation and involvement in the heat pump procurement/installation process, as part of the Small Cities Grant awarded to the Town of Trumbull to be used for heat pumps for the 186 units in Stern Village.

Ms. Polansky noted the Town of Trumbull is the recipient of the Small Cities Grant for $800,000 that will be provided to the Trumbull Housing Authority towards heat pumps for 186 units. There will be additional costs accrued for our Stern Village Energy Improvement-Heat Pump Project. One cost is for Architect George Wiles’ participation in the Stern Village Energy Improvement-Heat Pump Project. Mr. Wiles submitted an estimate to the Board outlining his participation for this project which became the addendum to the original AIA contract. Ms. Polansky noted heat pumps were included in the redevelopment and revitalization plan as part of the energy efficiency upgrades for Stern Village. Now that this grant has been awarded, they are taking the heat pump portion of the project out of the larger redevelopment and revitalization plan. UI provided the THA with a letter of intent (LOI) for all the different upgrades, including heat pumps, as part of the 2016 SHSP funding application submitted by the THA.
Ms. Polansky explained that Wiles + Architects have been an integral part of the redevelopment and revitalization project and funding asks for Stern Village, which included heat pumps. The reason for the amendment to the original architect agreement is to keep the expenses separate for purposes of basis eligible costs for the tax credit project. In other words, the construction hard costs as well as any architectural, legal, etc. costs can’t be considered as part of tax credit basis if funded through grants, which is what both the Small Cities Funds and Utility Incentives are considered for LIHTC purposes. The base architect’s contract allows for hourly billings for additional services as instructed by the owner. We’re not asking for an approval of an expanded scope, but rather clearly delineating the costs associated with the heat pump project from that of the base contract. If the heat pump project was not in the base contract, then we would have had to procure the architectural team separately.
The system is to be evolved from design, development and concept to formal design as specified by the project engineer for bidding and permitting. The final design will meet or exceed the design requirements for the initiatives. The design team will identify upgrade options that may translate to higher incentives. Such options will be considered as alternatives for the bidding process. Once the project has been bid, final product will be selected and final plans will be made. UI will present a formal agreement which will quantify the incentives.

Ms. Polansky is asking the Board to approve the first amendment to the approved AIA agreement.

Mr. Wiles spoke on the involvement of his firm with this project. He noted the heat pumps would be removed from the larger project and processed separately with all separate paperwork, bids, specifications, etc. All work must be coordinated with the Small Cities Grant in order for this project to move forward. His firm will also monitor installation of the units and make sure the guarantees and warrantees for the equipment are put into a book and maintained for the future.

Mrs. Kopchik motioned to approve the first amendment between owner and the AIA Agreement. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.

Resident Comments
Sandy – questioned how the equipment would be chosen, reliability of equipment, etc. Mr. Wiles noted once the units are installed, the contractor is required by the state to guarantee everything for one year. There are also extended warrantees for parts of the equipment beyond that one year.

Pat – will this be put out to bid to choose what we want or will it be one style. Mr. Wiles noted that this has to go to public bid. Project documents will be completed to describe the work in detail. It will be advertised publicly and anyone can bid. A bid bond will be required of 5-10% and qualification of the bidders will be requested so that references can be contacted. In public bidding it is very difficult to take anyone but the lower bidder unless there is a significant problem that would eliminate them.

Joan – questioned if there would be one unit per apartment or one unit for the four apartments. Mr. Wiles noted it would be four individual units with the compressor outside with another component inside. The units will be protected but will need to be cleared in the event of a large snow storm.

Judy – is the person who does the work also responsible for the maintenance and warrantee; otherwise it might become confusing. Mr. Wiles noted there are regulations on contracts, bidding and construction. This will be evaluated at the time of installation. Units adjust to keep everything at a comfortable temperature.

Renee – when will this start. The start date is dependent upon when all requirements are met.

Mr. Wiles noted the bid bond will eliminate some contractors as it is not refundable.

Ms. Polansky noted Bob Dunn from the Building Department of the Town of Trumbull will also be part of the team.

Adjournment
There being no further business, Mrs. Kopchik motioned to adjourn the meeting at 4:37 pm. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.
Respectfully submitted

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

.

Minutes THA September 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
September 26, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Thelma Burr, Suzanne Donofrio and Paul Niebuhr

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

Commissioners Absent: Suzanne Fatse

The meeting was called to order at 4:00 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mrs. Kopchik welcomed Paul Niebuhr as a new Commissioner for the THA replacing Linda Nassrah and the Board looks forward to working with him.

Past Minutes
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of July 25, 2016 as written. Seconded by Mrs. Burr and approved with one abstention from Mr. Neibuhr.

Approval of the minutes of September 6, 2016 was tabled until the next meeting.

Treasurer’s Report
Mrs. Burr noted this was her final report as Treasurer for the THA and she thanked everyone for their support for all these years.

For the period ending August 31, 2016, Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall loss for the period of $9,518. This is entirely attributable to the various vacancies in the Village and the Center which has reduced the rental income. We have reduced and are maintaining our expense structure. As of August 31, 2016, Accounts Payable is approximately $65,512, including the PILOT accrual for the current year and the prior fiscal year. All vendors have been paid currently. The cash position is healthy at the present time.

First Selectman Herbst presented a proclamation to Mrs. Burr noting her many contributions during her years at Stern Village and declared September 26, 2016 as Thelma Burr Day.

Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Polansky noted the Village current cash position is approximately $37,570 and the Center’s cash position is $18,588. There are two vacancies in the Congregate which should be filled shortly. In the Village, we have 16 vacancies, 10 of which are being kept for hotel units. Applications were accepted for Stern Village during the month of August only. Approximately eighty applications were received for the Village. Applications were vetted and approximately 50 residents appear to qualify for Stern Village. A wait list will be posted within the next two weeks and vacancies should be filled within the next couple of months. There have been capital expenditures during this period including the installation of some new windows and a repair of the sprinkler system in the Congregate. In the Village, the handicapped door will be replaced in the Community Room. In the Congregate they will be replacing the inner door with a new automatic door and key fob system.

Currently the reserve balance is over $1,513,749 which is approximately $6,819 for each unit in the entire complex. The overall cash position as of August 31, 2016 shows a balance of $1,013,668, including the investment account. Ms. Polansky is continuing to look at other projects to further improve the facility within the realm of affordability, need and security.

UI approved the interconnection agreement for solar panels for the Congregate this morning. Mr. Dunn is also reviewing the documents and the solar panels should be installed within the next week or two.

The annual THA picnic was a huge success. Ms. Polansky thanked the following corporate friends of Stern Village for their generous donations to make it extra special:
– Patty Cahill and John Annis from Home Depot, Trumbull
– Ed Henrich – United Health Care
– Nick and Mark from ISC Security
– Stop & Shop on Quality Street
– JR from RWS
– Malik from Hancock Pharmacy
– Sai fro Medical Arts Pharmacy
– Jeff Shapiro, Creative Culinary for the delicious food
– Brian from Calvert Locksmiths

Paulette was elected to the SWCAA Advisory Council to serve two years to represent the Trumbull Housing Authority at Stern Village.

Ms. Polansky noted it was Thelma’s last THA Board meeting as Tenant Commissioner and Treasurer for the THA Board of Commissioners. Ms. Polansky stated “ We will miss you and everything you, and your daughter Nancy, have done for Stern Village for over 25 years. I will miss your energy and ability to light up a room. I will miss your many contributions on a daily basis, too numerous to mention. I will miss your insight, understanding and compassion for the residents of Stern Village. I will also miss your spunk and commitment to excellence. Thank you for all you have contributed to this organization.” A letter was mailed to every THA resident last Wednesday explaining the election process for a Tenant Commissioners along with a nomination ballot. The third party to oversee the election is Kim from TOVA.

Unfinished Business
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of May 9, 2016 as written. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved with one abstention from Mr. Niebuhr.

New Business
Ms. Polansky discussed the key fob for the inner door at the Congregate. The inner door is always locked as a security precaution. The congregate manager or the security guards have to leave their work areas to open the door. She conducted research and the best solution is to have a key fob system installed. Each resident will be provided with a fob to open the door. Cost to replace the fob is $50.00. Collecting deposits for the key fob is okay as long as a meeting was held with the residents of the Congregate and provided them the information. A special meeting was held last Thursday. The deposit money will be put into a separate account and the deposit will be returned when the resident leaves the facility and returns the fob. Wristlets were ordered today for the residents. She would like the Board to approve a one-time deposit of $20 for the key fob to be paid by each Congregate resident.

Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the one-time deposit of $20.00 obtained from each resident of the Stern Village Congregate Center and the deposit refunded when the key is returned when the resident leaves the building. Mrs. Burr seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.

Public Comment
Mr. Littlefield read the following statement – “Madam Chairman, I speak to the letter received last Friday about the election of a Tenant Commissioner to fill the unexpired term of Thelma Burr whose long service on the Board is recognized with thanks.

Madam Chairman, does the Board really want to ignore the purposes and intent of State Statute which requires that you have an independent, disinterested and impartial third party conduct and monitor the election?

I ask that because Ms. Kim Pietrorazio, Executive of TOVAH, Inc., a Division of the Simon Knover Real Estate Management Corporation, can hardly claim to be independent, disinterested or impartial, she being a current and probable future paid contractor of the THA. Ms. Pietrorazio is, quite simply, not a qualified independent disinterested third party, according to state statute, to run this election.

Therefore, by the authority of the duly organized, established and legitimately qualified Stern Village Tenants’ Association, Inc. I have been duly authorized…”. At this point, Mrs. Kopchik stopped Mr. Littlefield and reminded him that he can only speak for himself and not represent any other entity. She reminded Mr. Littlefield that the Board does not recognize the Stern Village Tenants’ Association. Mr. Littlefield was asked to rephrase his comments. He continued “I respectfully request this Board of Commissioners, being that of a public housing authority, subject to the law and acting at a called public meeting, take action to disqualify Ms. Pietrorazio and to work cooperatively to select a qualified moderator that is suitable and agreeable to this Board and to the Stern Village Tenants’ Association, Inc. This can be done quite easily…”. Mr. Kopchik stated Mr. Littlefield’s speaking time was up. Mr. Littlefield noted he was interrupted and should be allowed to finish. He noted that he wanted to do this amicably but the Board does not want to so it leaves him no alternative but to pursue other legal means. Mr. Littlefield ended “Respectfully submitted”.

Ed – It is very fitting that it is a very important day. We will remember you and the great job you did for Stern Village. He is very grateful that Mr. Herbst runs Trumbull and has done a magnificent job and Harriet Polansky too. The fact that we are not legally represented by a tenants association as of yet, there has not been a single problem because of Harriet. Anyone who lives in Stern Village should be truly grateful. As far as Kim being the wrong person, he didn’t think he has met a more honest person in his life. Congratulations to Paulette.

Judy – she will miss Thelma; no one can take her place.

Joan – this is a beautiful community and wishes all could get along. There is power when united. She would like to see everyone trying to do the right thing. She respects Mr. Littlefield and stated he is a good man.

Gus – Thank you to Thelma for being a good friend, a lovely neighbor and for all the work she has done. He also stated he would like to file a formal complaint against a resident for posting a sign in her window regarding him and falsely accusing him of theft. He would like the Board to address this legally or otherwise. The resident, Christiane Poggi, was questioned by Thelma Burr and she refused to answer.

Sandy – Thelma is remarkable and a great asset to Stern Village. She felt it was an unfortunate circumstance for Gus and requested the Board to address it. Mrs. Kopchik noted that would speak with Gus regarding this. Sandy spoke that her goal is to have peace, harmony and to have people around her who care. She has been on the board for redevelopment and it has been great for her. Thelma is a great example of someone she would like to copy. Regrets this happy occasion has been diminished. Paulette is more than an advantage to this community. It is sad that people have their own personal agenda.

Mrs. Kopchik and the Board wished Thelma well.

Adjournment
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to adjourn the meeting at 4:33pm. Seconded by Mrs. Burr and approved unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

Minutes THA July 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
July 25, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Susan Fatse and Thelma Burr
Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky
Commissioners Absent: Suzanne Donofrio

The meeting was called to order at 4:10 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Past Minutes
The following correction was made to the June 20, 2016 minutes:
1. Page 2, second paragraph second to last line should read: “Jeff, Bob and Rene received several rounds of applause.”
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of June 20, 2016 as amended. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report
Mrs. Burr reported for the period ending June 30, 2016. Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall loss of $28,036. This is entirely attributable to the various vacancies in the Village and the Center which reduces the rental income. We have reduced and maintained the expense structure. All vendors are paid currently. The current Accounts Payable amounts to $55,128 which includes the PILOT payments accruing for the current year ending June 30, 2016. The cash position is healthy at the present time. The Village cash position has approximately $15,873 and the Center’s cash position is $24,890.

Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Polansky noted the new fiscal year is off to a great start. She thanked Governor Malloy for allocating $800,000 from the Small Cities Funds to be used for ductless split heat pumps for 186 apartments. She also thanked First Selectman Herbst for applying for the grant on behalf of Stern Village; Senators Moore and Hwang and State Representatives Laura Devlin, David Rutigliano and Ben McGorty for writing letters in support of the heat pumps; Chief of Staff Lynn Arnow; Director of Economic, Community Development Rina Bakalar; Land Use Planner Rob Librandi and everyone from the town who worked on this time sensitive and intensive application with consultant Larry Wagner. She also thanked the residents, care givers and friends of Stern Village who wrote letters in support. She has been working with the engineer on the type of heat pump appropriate for Stern Village and started figuring out locations. A meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 27 with Frank from Millennium, Mark the Engineer from Acorn, George Wiles the architect, Neil, Ms. Polansky, representatives from the town and the Small Cities Consultant to discuss the next steps. This is a process. The town must receive the funds before this project can move forward. Once decisions are made on the pumps, they will have to go out to bid. No time frame has been developed for completion as it depends on the state to process the funds.

The application for funding for the redevelopment and revitalization of Stern Village is in the hands of DOH. Ms. Polansky noted they may hear something in August on this funding.
Laundry rooms and the community room will be open daily at 7:00 am.
More security cameras are being added in the Congregate.
Ms. Polansky is also looking into the best solution to make it easier for congregants to open the inner door of the Congregate. It appears that Stanley Access Technologies has the best solution and she is waiting for an estimate. It is felt that a FOB system to unlock the door would make it easier.
The Asset Manager from CHFA conducted a site visit last Thursday and it went extremely well.
Ms. Polansky is going to open the wait list for the Village for a few weeks August 1. Currently there are 14 vacancies. Ten units will be kept as hotel units but the remaining will be filled until we hear from the State.

Unfinished Business
Reading and approval of the minutes from the Special Board meeting held on May 9, 2016 was tabled until the next meeting.

New Business
No new business.

Resident Comments
Pat – thank you for the $800,000 and all the work that has been done. Complimented the cleanliness of the laundry rooms. They were all scrubbed and repainted. Pat asked about a push-button to open the door in the Congregate like we have for the Community Room. Ms. Polansky noted this can’t be done for security reasons.
Joan – noted that if the money is not received for the revitalization, all she wants is new windows and floors. Ms. Polansky stated she is lucky to have an apartment that is better than some of the others. It is not only the apartments that need updating but also the roads, sidewalks, storm management system and sanitary system. Energy efficient updates must also be made. All the apartments must be updated, including but not limited to the roofs, doors, windows, cabinets and floors.
Lee – questioned when the duct work is done for the heat and air conditioning, will the residents have to leave their apartments. Ms. Polansky noted no one would be displaced.
Sandy – everyone did a great job on the laundry room and it is very nice. Use of the laundry room was discussed. Ms. Polansky will make sure it is cleaned more often.
Additional discussion was held regarding the windows. They are old and very hard to open. Anyone who has a problem should put in a work order.
Colleen – had a concern about the busses. Ms. Polansky noted it is planned to have a designated bus for Stern Village that would be available three days a week that can be used for shopping and appointments.
Pat – asked if there could be a change in placing green stickers on the windows of cars. He suggested that there be a warning given and then if there is a second offense, the sticker be used. This sticker is for parking violations. Handicapped parking spaces were discussed. Ms. Polansky is aware of the need for additional spaces throughout the Village. Assigned parking was discussed. Ms. Polansky noted this may be addressed in the revitalization.

Adjournment
There being no further business, Mrs. Kopchik motioned to adjourn the meeting at 4:43 pm. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

Minutes THA June 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
June 20, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Susan Fatse and Suzanne Donofrio

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

Commissioners Absent: Thelma Burr

The meeting was called to order at 4:02 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Past Minutes
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of May 23, 2016 as written. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.

Mrs. Kopchik noted that Mrs. Burr was in the hospital. Ms. Polansky spoke with her and she should be home today.

Treasurer’s Report
Ms. Polansky reported in the absence of Mrs. Burr. For the period ending May 31, 2016, Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall gain of $1,893. All vendors have been paid. The current Accounts Payable amounts to $36,825 which includes the PILOT payments accruing for the current year ending June 30, 2016. The cash position is healthy at the present time. The Village current cash position is approximately $24,751 and the Center’s cash position is $1,444. Vacancies in the Village have stabilized and the Center has a few vacancies. There have been some minor capital expenditures this period such as new landscaping equipment, materials and labor for some flooring repairs and a new refrigerator for the kitchen in the Congregate.

Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Polansky reported the current reserve balance is over $1,393.793 which is approximately $6,278 for each unit in the entire complex. The overall cash position as of May 31, 2016 shows a balance of $998,043 including the investment account. We always look at other projects to further improve the facility within the realm of affordability, need and security.

Ms. Polansky is waiting to hear back from DOH and CHFA on the revitalization and development program. First Selectman Herbst, our Senators and Representatives have written letters or contacted DOH to lend support to the project.

The roof on the Congregate has been secured for the installation of the solar panels and she is waiting on UI approvals before it can be installed.

At last week’s Tuesday Tea, Jeff, the Maintenance Manager, discussed maintenance processes, procedures and obtained residents’ input in answer to questions raised at the last Board meeting. The following was reviewed:
1. Work orders – everyone must submit a work order unless it is an emergency. They discussed what constitutes an emergency and provided emergency contacts. If there is an emergency over the weekend, you can call the Congregate.
2. Kitchen appliances, sinks and toilets. Discussed cleaning and what not to flush down the drains. Discussed issues when residents purchase items to upgrade and what to do with them.
The outcome of the meeting was extremely positive. Several residents spoke very highly of the Maintenance Staff; there were no negative comments. Jeff, Bob and Ray received several rounds of applause.

The residents liked the idea of alternating sections for mowing and snow removal. They don’t want robo calls as a reminder but when they hear the lawn mower, they will remove the furniture.

Ms. Polansky reviewed highlights in her six month recap which is available on the website. A copy is attached to these minutes for review. Among items Ms. Polansky reviewed, she noted that Daisy, the new Congregate Manager, met with Calvert Lock regarding the inner door in the Congregate as it is difficult to open. Also, Kim from TOVAH is working with the residents on a new duly elected and statutory compliant Stern Village Residents’ Association. Kim has worked with the residents on adopting new bylaws and is presently working with the residents in preparation for the election of officers to the new association. The new name was voted on by the residents.

Unfinished Business
Mrs. Kopchik stated the minutes from the Special Board Meeting on May 9, 2016 will be approved next month when there is an appropriate quorum.

New Business
Discussion/Action for Hiring a Security Guard Service for the Congregate. Mrs. Kopchik noted they have been using a company called Investigative Consultants (IC) for security. Ms. Polansky introduced Mark Schachter and Nicholas Padilla, owners of the company. Ms. Polansky noted the Congregate must have an attendant/security guard 24/7, 365 days a year. Part-time people have been hired to cover various shifts. This has been difficult for multiple reasons. However, these people are not specifically trained in security for public housing nor are many of them computer literate. This does cause problems because there are many forms that need to be completed on a computer. Another security company has been used but Congregate had problems with this company’s employees and they were expensive. She requested recommendations from various housing authorities and Investigative Consultants received excellent reviews with people noting they were professional, dependable and reliable. She noted there is an annual employee cost for 128 hours per week with 10 holidays per year. Total cost for IC would be $99,985 which saves $15,000 a year by not using part-timers. Mr. Schachter and Mr. Padilla spoke about their company’s background and operations, respectively.

Daisy Torres and Ms. Polansky developed some notes that included:
1. CPR/AED/FA training for everyone
2. Uniformity
3. Check list for procedures
4. Adding additional information for the security of the residents
5. Documents stored and generated on the computer
6. High/low risk assessment for the residents in the Congregate
7. Training on the Life Line system
8. First Aid kit was ordered
9. Fire and evacuation drill will be done quarterly
10. Exterior lighting and additional cameras will be discussed

Mrs. Kopchik moved to approve the hiring of Investigative Consultants based on their service agreements with Stern Center. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.

Residents’ Comments
Paul Littlefield read this statement – “Be it spread on the record, that the Stern Village Tenants’ Association, Inc. is seriously considering all of its options, including injunctive or other relief in United States District Court to ensure its survival as the duly organized primary tenants’ representative organization, if the THA and TOVAH do not cease and desist from pursuing their latest co-operative activity of severely undermining and interfering with the mission of the Stern Village Tenants’ Association, Inc. of serving the best interests of all tenants in Stern Village, by forming a competing association and continuing to deny the SVTA members their Constitutional right to freely meet and to hold meetings, as they see fit, without interference and intimidation by the THA and its management staff.”

Ms. Polansky spoke through the chair noting that it is her understanding from Kim at TOVAH, who is working directly with the residents, that there will be an election and every resident can be a part of the slate. Mr. Littlefield responded “as in the statement, that if you continue”. So what the Executive Director has just said is that you plan to continue your divisive approaches setting up a competitive resident group.” He advised that they have an attorney engaged to take care of this matter and they will be hearing further on this.

Judy Restieri – commented to Mr. Littlefield noting they are in the process of duly electing a committee for the Stern Village Residents’ Association and are in the process of voting. We have nominees going into the ballot box and it is absolutely legal because the one that is standing now is illegal. You cannot charge residents any fees and any resident of Stern Village is part of the association at no cost. Everyone has input into nominating, electing and getting a group that represents every resident in Stern Village. It is not a selective group. She also thanked Harriet, Neil and the people running Stern Village for making her apartment safe. They listen and prioritize what is truly necessary.

Sandy Fisher – noted that Stern Village Residents Association flyers went out to all residents and those that responded approved a new resident association to have individual voices. All meetings are publicized, everyone is invited, information is shared and everyone has a voice. Kim has properly set up a resident association. They will be productive in getting things done in the Village and all information will be available to everyone. This will benefit every resident and to continue conflict is unnecessary. The new association will be open to all and wishes there could be peace so that individuals would just go with what is right for everyone here.

Gloria – agreed with Sandy and Judy. She noted the residents need to ask nominees if they would like to be considered for a position. A thank you was extended to the Board for letting the work get done.

Adjournment
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to adjourn the meeting at 4:42pm. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

Minutes Special THA May 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
May 9, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik, Commissioner Thelma Burr and Suzanne Donofrio

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

The meeting was called to order at 4:02 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mrs. Kopchik moved the Resident Comments to the end of the meeting.

New Business
Discussion and Possible Action regarding the Stern Village Tenants Association – Mrs. Kopchik noted that at the February 22, 2016 Trumbull Housing Authority Board meeting, Kim from TOVAH discussed Project Reach and her role in working with the residents of the Trumbull Housing Authority through Project Reach. On behalf of the residents of the Trumbull Housing Authority, Kim requested that the Trumbull Housing Authority Board of Commissioners engage the legal counsel of the Trumbull Housing Authority to act upon the interests and desires of the residents who wish to participate in their community via the Tenant Association and ensure that they are provided with equal opportunity to do so. Minutes are available from that meeting for review.

Mrs. Kopchik introduced Attorney Chris Russo who provided the findings of the Stern Village Tenants Association (SVTA).

Mr. Russo stated he was asked to look into the compliance aspect of the Stern Village Tenants Association with regard to state and federal law. The laws were reviewed and he corresponded with multiple attorneys that were representing Mr. Littlefield who is a resident here and the Stern Village Tenants Association. They requested a number of documents from each of them.

He noted the basic path the law goes through starts with Chapter 128. Sec. 8-41(b). This Chapter of the CT General Statutes deals with zoning, planning, and housing community development. This particular chapter also talks about municipal housing projects. The section deals with tenant commissioners but also deals with tenant organizations. This was reviewed as to what direction would be an appropriate tenant organization at Stern Village. Section 8-41(b) reads

“The authority shall designate a tenant organization as a recognized jurisdiction wide tenant organization only if the members of the governing body of such tenant organization were elected through a jurisdiction wide election and such tenant organization satisfies the requirements for election jurisdiction wide resident councils pursuant to regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing Development HUD.”

The Connecticut law directs to the federal law for standards that must be followed. CT 24 CFR 964 is the federal regulation they refer to. This lists a number of requirements.

The purpose of the regulation is to recognize the importance of resident’s involvement in creating a positive living environment and actively participating in the overall mission of public housing. The policy on tenant participation is that HUD promotes resident participation in the active involvement of residents in all aspects of the housing authority overall mission operation. As long as proper procedures are followed, the housing authority shall recognize the duly elected resident council to participate fully through a working relationship with the housing authority. HUD encourages housing authorities to work together. The federal law is connected to the state law and they say the same thing. The important thing is that proper procedures are followed. The housing authority has a duty to make sure that proper procedures are followed and these procedures are laid out in regulation. Mr. Russo focused on the procedures which are related to the Stern Village/Trumbull Housing Authority situation.

One section is 964.115 and it deals with resident council requirements. Resident council and tenant organizations are really interchangeable. It states a resident council must meet each of the following requirements in order to receive official recognition from the housing authority. Mr. Russo stressed the requirements that were important:

1. Must adopt written procedures such as bylaws which provide for the election of residents to the governing board by the voting membership of the residents residing in the housing. This has to be on a regular basis at least once every three years.
2. Written procedures must also provide for a recall election by the voting membership and the threshold for a recall election shall not be less than 10 percent of the voting membership.
3. Must have a democratically selected governing board that is elected by the voting membership. At a minimum, the governing board should consist of 5 elected board members. The voting membership must consist of heads of household and other resident of at least 18 years of age and older and whose name appears on the lease. The term voting membership is key because if there is not a proper voting membership and your bylaws call for a voting membership, it is a fatal flaw in the bylaws. This must be according with the federal law.
4. Election procedures and standards section is about bylaws and how those organizations are constituted. A resident council shall use an independent third party to oversee elections and recall procedures. This is not the housing authority or the tenant organization. The following minimum standards for election procedures must be followed:
a. All procedures must assure fair and frequent election of resident council members at least once every three years for each member.
b. Each member of the resident council shall adopt and issue election and recall procedures in their bylaws.
c. Election procedures shall include qualifications for office, frequency of elections and procedures for recall and limits, if desired.
d. All voting members of the resident community must be given at least 30 days notice for nominations and elections. The notice should include a description of election procedures, eligibility requirements and dates of nominations and elections.
e. If a resident council fails to satisfy HUD minimum standards for fair and frequent elections, or fails to follows its own election procedures as adopted, HUD shall require the housing authority to withdraw recognition of the resident council.

The Stern Village Tenants Association would need to meet these requirements. Mr. Russo was contacted by Attorney William Palmieri who represented the Stern Village Tenant Association and Mr. Littlefield. He was requested to provide documents related to these requirements and he was unable to produce any. Next Attorney William Whewell was contacted on 3/15/16 for documents relating to meeting these requirements and several other documents. Response was received on 3/29 and no documents were provided. Mr. Russo read the response which is attached to these minutes.

A copy of the original bylaws was also reviewed but there is no evidence they have been revised. There are several requirements missing with regard to elections and voting threshold. There is also a problem with member dues being required to vote. This is not a requirement under HUD. With HUD, you have to be head of household with a lease with Stern Village. This all compromises whether the Stern Village Tenant Association should be recognized. No election information has been received. If it was not in compliance with one of these requirements, the housing authority would need to withdraw recognition. In this case, none of the requirements have been met.

Mr. Russo has instructed the housing authority, even if there was never any recognition given to the SVTA, to make clear they are withdrawing any recognition of the SVTA. It does not follow with federal or state law and violates the standards in numerous areas. Unfortunately, the attorneys for the other side did not provide any documentation or cooperate with requests. The federal law encourages the housing authority to be active in engaging a tenant organization. It was the opinion of the SVTA that the housing authority had no oversight of the SVTA. Some internal topics are not within the oversight of the housing authority but making sure it is duly elected and the voting membership is appropriate is on the housing authority to make sure it is done in accordance with the law.

The housing authority has been advised to proactively move to a duly elected and constituted organization. The housing authority and tenant organization should be working together on decisions and the law actively encourages the housing authority to do so. He is advising the housing authority to withdraw recognition of the SVTA and also push to get a properly constituted tenant organization.

This meeting was noticed by agenda and a robo call was sent out. A document request was sent to his lawyer which stated the housing authority needed this information. We did not believe this organization was duly elected and this information would let us determine if this is the case. It was made clear they did not feel it was duly elected and that a new one should be formed. There has been a lot of time put towards this issue.

Mrs. Kopchik made a motion to approve the findings of Attorney Russo detailed in the submitted Opinion Letter addressed to Harriet Polansky, Executive Director of Stern Village, on May 2, 2016 and pursuant to those findings, to formally withdraw recognition of the Stern Village Tenants Association as a duly elected tenant organization pursuant to Chapter 128, Section 8-41(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes and 24 CFR 964 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.

Kim from TOVAH applauded the efforts of the Board of Commissioners. This situation is not typically seen and by making this motion and decision it opens up the door to work towards and establish a duly elected resident association. Kim presented a time line of events to move this forward which is attached to the minutes. She also discussed the updating of the bylaws and elections.

Question was asked regarding the League of Women Voters and the legality of the election. The issue has been that since the people were elected they have not functioned in a way that is consistent with State and Federal law. Mr. Russo noted he had requested this material from the attorney and it was not provided. It is unknown if the election was done properly. If Mr. Littlefield wants to contest anything, he would need to provide information for review. It was noted in the Opinion Letter that the association was not in compliance. Mrs. Kopchik noted that Mr. Littlefield was reminded at all the meetings that he could only speak for himself, not the tenant association.

Resident Comments
In moving forward, we will not be mentioning tenants association. Kim noted that all correspondence will be written on TOVAH letterhead until the bylaws are approved. There is no reason to address the old tenant association.

Jackie Hyzynski –hopes that this is an end to the situation and that we can move forward before the State doesn’t have any money to help us.

Adjournment
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to adjourn the meeting at 4:48 pm. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

Minutes THA May 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
May 23, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Thelma Burr, Susan Fatse

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

The meeting was called to order at 4:15 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Past Minutes
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of April 25, 2016 as written. Seconded by Mrs. Burr and approved unanimously. It was agreed to move the approval of the minutes of May 9, 2016 to the next meeting.

Resident Comments
Sandy Fisher requested that the Resident Comments be moved to the end of the meeting. Mrs. Kopchik agreed to move them to after New Business on the agenda.

Treasurer’s Report
Mrs. Burr reported for the period ending April 30, 2016. Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall loss for the period of $20,041. This is due to the vacancies in the Village and the Center reducing the rental income. Expenses have been reduced and the expense structure has been maintained. Ten units are being held in the Village for the redevelopment. Applicants for the Village have been met. The Congregate has three vacancies. Two of them will be filled by June 1, 2016. All vendors have been paid. The current Accounts Payable amounts to $50,778 which includes the PILOT payments accruing for the current year ending June 30, 2016. The cash position continues to be healthy. The Village current cash position has approximately $55,945 and the Center’s cash position is $13,640. There have been some minor capital expenditures for this period.

Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Polansky reported the current reserve balance is over $1,372,115 which is approximately $6,181 for each unit in the entire complex. The overall cash position as of April 30, 2016 shows a balance of $1,115,744 including the investment account. As of April 30, 2016, Accounts Payable is approximately $50,788 including the PILOT accrual for the current year. Ms. Polansky is always looking for projects to further improve the facility within the realm of affordability, need and security.

Ms. Polansky introduced Daisy Torres who is the new Congregate Manager. She will be starting on June 1, 2016.

The Maintenance crew has been patching areas in the road and pathways until funding is received to redo them. They are also seeding and planting. Ms. Polansky thanked Home Depot in Trumbull for providing soil, mulch and plants. She is working on getting volunteers to help residents with gardens and to beautify Stern Village.

The application for Rehabilitation and Redevelopment of Stern Village is being reviewed with the various state agencies. Last Tuesday, Bruce Whittaker from Millennium had a meeting with several residents and explained everything about the process. Minutes from the meeting are posted on the board and will be in the June newsletter. Ms. Polansky noted plans will be available for review in the Community Room shortly but she emphasized these are draft drawings. Final plans will be drawn once funding is secured.

Ms. Polansky noted she is waiting to approve a three-way interconnection application for the solar project. The interconnection application and agreement are documents which are approved by the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC).

Doug Holcomb, GBTA, held a meeting with residents to determine how to meet their transportation needs. A new schedule has not been established and there will be meetings with the town and the new Senior Center Director before anything is decided.

Correspondence
A letter from Barbara in the First Selectman’s office was discussed regarding issues residents had with the Commissioners. This letter was addressed to Ms. Polansky who shared it with the Commissioners and she applauded the Commissioners for their work at Stern Village noting their positions are volunteer positions. Mrs. Fatse stated she was offended by the letter. She felt the Commissioners have not been rude, have not yelled at residents or brought anyone to tears over something said at meetings.

The letter listed derogatory comments which were debunked during the meeting.

Discussion was held regarding the Commissioners involvement with the business of the Village. Ms. Polansky stated she uses various methods to keep the Commissioners informed. She sends the Commissioners a weekly update and discussion items with supporting information as needed. She also uses telephone calls, emails and texts to relay information. Mrs. Fatse stated no decisions are made that have not been run through the Commissioners and that all Commissioners are very well informed about events. However, it is not the role of the Commissioners to know the personal details of everyone who lives in the Village. The Board makes decision for the Village and the betterment of the residents’ lives as a whole. Mrs. Fatse also noted the one resident previously referred to who was upset at the last meeting had personal information, including financial, that needed to be discussed. That was the reason to have a separate meeting with the resident and her son outside of the Board meeting. Mrs. Fatse was upset about the residents being cut off when making comments at the last meeting and discussed it with Ms. Polansky but there has to be a limit so that a resident cannot speak about things that untrue, make false statements or upset members in the community. One resident felt that people with legitimate concerns should be allowed to speak.

Several residents discussed maintenance items that needed to be addressed such as steps, snow removal, walkways and roads, privacy issues, doors and plumbing problems. Ms. Polansky addressed these issues. She reminded the residents that a work order needs to be put in for any maintenance issues they may have. It was agreed that Ms. Polansky would meet with the Maintenance Staff regarding work orders and the length of time until they are addressed and corrected. Ms. Polansky will also meet with Maintenance in November to discuss winter projects that need to be addressed. Administration and Maintenance need to be proactive. We should do something now to keep everyone safe until the redevelopment is done.

Unfinished Business
No unfinished business.

New Business
Stern Village Management Plan for 2016-2017, Congregate Management Plan for 2016-2017 and Congregate Service Plan for 2016-2017. Ms. Polansky and Neil have been working on the Management Plans for the Village and Congregate for 2016-2017. Fiscal year starts July 1 2016 and ends June 20, 2017.

Village Management Plan: rents stayed the same; expenses stayed the same; vacancy loss is higher this year since we are saving ten units for “hotel units” as part of our redevelopment. The State measures the average cost per unit per month. Current year is $324 which will remain the same for 2017. This includes salary increases and reduction of utility and legal expenditures.

Congregate Management Plan: DOH requested that we increase the base rent by $50 per month from $350 to $400. All DOH procedures were followed including alerting the residents in the beginning of the year, having meetings with the residents, taking minutes, etc. The Asset Manager at DOH has all of the information. This helped increase the reserve which was mandated by DOH. The reserve RM&R (repair, maintenance & replacement) was increased by $25,000. The expense structure remained the same, there was a reduction of legal and utilities.

Services: Remain the same as the previous year at $736 per month.

Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the Budget Plan for Stern Village and the Management Plan and Service Plan for the Congregate for the fiscal year July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017. This includes increasing the base rents for the Congregate. Seconded by Mrs. Burr and approved unanimously.

Resident Comments
Sandy Fisher noted that residents do not read the newsletter to keep informed. Everyone has a responsibility to get the appropriate information that ultimately affects them as residents. If they do not do this, it is their own fault. The administration is trying to improve things and maintenance does a great job taking care of everything with only three men. She did not feel anyone on the Board or any Commissioner was offensive to the resident at the last meeting; that resident was just told to speak with everyone after the meeting.

Other residents commented it was great to get to know the Commissioners better after this meeting. Paulette is working with the residents and it was noted it is better since Paulette has been involved and she deserves a lot of credit for her work. Misinformation has caused some of the problems because people do not reach out to get the proper information.

Gloria noted there have been a lot of improvements in the Village. Neil has been very helpful and has answered questions and resolved problems. Paulette is an asset. No complaints about the maintenance crew.

Adjournment
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to adjourn the meeting at 5:18 pm. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

Minutes THA May 2016

 

Minutes THA April 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority – April 25, 2016
Trumbull Housing Authority
April 25, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Thelma Burr, Susan Fatse, Suzanne Donofrio
Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

The meeting was called to order at 4:02 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Past Minutes
Ms. Polansky noted the following changes for the April 4, 2016 minutes:
1. Page 1 under Public Comment, first paragraph, third to last line should read – “He asked that under Thelma Burr…”
2. Page 2 under Treasurer’s Report, second to last line should read – “Most important is the cash position…”
3. Page 3, sixth paragraph should read – “A resident took pictures of the salad bar and lied to the attendant about why he was there.”
4. Page 3, last paragraph, second line should read – “If Villagers are abusing this privilege, it is a violation of their lease agreement.”
5. Page 4 third paragraph, second line should read – “Ms. Polansky has been abiding…”

Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of April 4, 2016 as amended. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.

Resident Comments
Paul Littlefield began speaking on behalf of the Tenant’s Association. Mrs. Kopchik stated that he could only speak on his own behalf and not on the part of the Tenant’s Association. It was his recommendation to the Board of Commissioners that they write a letter to the First Selectman requesting him to utilize the $1.27 million in State funds that have been approved for the use of the town and many other towns for paving. It has been many years that Hedgehog Circle has been deteriorating and it is getting worse. He asked that the Board, for the safety of the tenants and their vehicles, to have the town pave the road.
Edward Horan stated there is no reason to put a band aid on the roads. They have to be dug up, fixed and then paved. Ms. Polansky has a plan to fix the sidewalks where needed until all the money is in place.

Trumbull Housing Authority – April 25, 2016
Sandy Fisher acknowledged that the new lights are really nice and brighter. She also spoke about the repaving of the roads. This has been discussed at other meetings. It does have to be addressed but there can’t be anything done until the underlying problems are addressed. Otherwise it is a waste of time and Ms. Polansky is working on the pathways. Things are in progress and she wished things were not being held up unnecessarily with the various personalities.
Vera Malesky questioned the increase in her rent. She has a problem as her rent was doubled. Neil corrected this problem. She felt the increase was too much and noted that she had no change in her status. Vera’s son was present but was told that only residents were allowed to speak at the meeting. Ms. Polansky noted this has been addressed by Neil and CHFA with Vera. Ms. Polansky also sent all of the calculations for Vera’s rent to the Asset Manager at CHFA. Ms. Polansky noted the recertification is mandatory and everyone must get recertified. Any missed appointments need to be rescheduled. If a resident refuses to recertify, it is cause for eviction. This is the law. Ms. Polansky recommended that Vera and her son, George, meet after the Board meeting to discuss this.
Sydney Nguyen questioned if residents have the right to say no with regard to the construction of their units. Sydney asked if the rent will increase or stay the same. Ms. Polansky asked why she would not want to be redeveloped and renovated. Sydney stated she does not want an increase in her rent. Ms. Polansky noted the project will not be done without the RAP (Rental Assistance Program). The base rent will change and that is why they are applying for the RAP. Residents will be protected for up to 15 years. Ms. Polansky said this topic will be revisited once the money has been approved. Frank from Millennium noted that rent will need to go up over time and the whole preservation issue is predicated on having protection for a period of 15 years from the State. This is confusing because Stern Village has never participated in any RAP. This is now an opportunity to become involved in the RAP. If the RAP is not secured, the project will not be done and this would put more economic pressure on the team to maintain the rent over that 15 year period. He noted residents are more exposed if it doesn’t go through and less exposed if the State is shouldering the burden of capital improvement as well as the rent.
Treasurer’s Report
Mrs. Burr reported for the period ending March 31, 2016. Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall loss of $22,601. This is due to the various vacancies in the Village and the Center which reduced the rental income. However, expenses have also been reduced. All vendors have been paid. The current Accounts Payable amounts to $55,673, which includes the PILOT payments accruing for the current year ending June 30, 2016. Most important, the cash position is healthy at the present time. The Village current cash position is approximately $17,616 and the Center’s cash position is $17,529. The fourth quarter subsidy from the State was received this past week. The solar for the Congregate should be installed shortly once C-TEC Solar receives the various approvals from the town.

Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Polansky reported the current reserve balance is over $1,366,054 which is approximately $6,153 for each unit in the entire complex. The overall cash position as of March 31, 2016 shows a balance of $1,080,722.
Ms. Polansky wished Thelma Burr a Happy Birthday this week. She also wished Vera Malesky a Happy Birthday.
As always, Ms. Polansky continues to look at other projects to further improve the facility with regard to wellness and security that is within the realm of affordability and need.
There are now four vacancies in the Congregate and they will be filled shortly. A new resident is coming to the Congregate on May 1 and details for others are being worked out. The Village will have new residents in May. Ten apartments are being kept as hotel units for relocation purposes for when the funding is awarded to us. Having these ten apartments also looks good on the application.
Ms. Polansky welcomed Gus back to the Stern Village neighborhood watch. Gus and John will be driving the golf cart and Gus will be providing THA car stickers to new residents and to residents that have a new car.
The recertification for residents of Stern Village is near completion. It is mandatory by the State that residents be recertified. If a resident refuses to be recertified or does not show up for their scheduled appointments and do not reschedule, it is cause for eviction.
Ms. Polansky noted that based on the transportation grant, she is allowed to provide bus service to residents for their medical appointments or employment. First Selectman Herbst was at Stern Village last Monday and several residents voiced their concerns about GBT. Ms. Polansky read a letter from Mr. Herbst to Doug Holcomb, CEO for GBTA, which is attached to these minutes for the record. This is an issue and she thanked First Selectman Herbst for his help. Mr. Herbst also spoke about the roads in the Village and all roads in Trumbull.
On April 27, Ms. Polansky is applying for funding from DOH. The Development Team, Neil Gerhardt, Ms. Polansky and the Commissioners spent months working on the application. Ms. Polansky has discussed the small cities application and the SSHP application during meetings with the residents. As everyone is aware, the scope of the project has been decreased as well as the RAP ask. In order to lower the total cost of redevelopment, the bump-outs for the efficiencies were removed and the cost was lowered for rehabbing the community room (plans are to gut the existing space, increase the space by using the two small apartments that are attached and, if possible, add some minor new construction). The new construction for ADA units has been reconfigured and the storm water management cost has been lowered. All energy efficiency upgrades remain the same. Ms. Polansky is hoping the town is awarded the Small Cities Grant which will be used for heat pumps for all the apartments in the Village. Additional
tweaks were made to the project and the new total is $21,072,000. The RAP is now $364,296 which is considerably lower than what was asked for previously. This all takes time to get where we need to be.
Steve and Paulette are working on some new and exciting programs this spring. Creative Culinary will be sponsoring the Third Annual Mother’s Day Breakfast. There will be sign-up sheets. Romy will be working with the Congregates. Her expertise is in relaxation techniques and alternative approaches to decrease stress. She will provide workshops in the Congregate and work one-on-one with the residents. Steve did a great presentation on many programs he would like to do. Ms. Polansky thanked Steve and Nancy for the games they donated.
Unfinished Business  None.
New Business  None.
Adjournment
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik, seconded by Mrs. Donofrio, to adjourn the meeting at 4:25 pm. Approved unanimously.
Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Crandall Clerk
These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

 

Minutes THA April 2016

Minutes THA March 2016

Trumbull Housing Authority
April 4, 2016
4:00 pm
Community Room of Stern Village

Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Thelma Burr, Susan Fatse, Suzanne Donofrio

Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky

The meeting was called to order at 4:00 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mrs. Kopchik expressed condolences on behalf of the Commission on the passing of Madeline Smerglinolo who passed away on Easter Saturday.

Past Minutes
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of February 22, 2016 as written. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.

Public Comment
Paul Littlefield – commented on the salad bar noting that not all places have them and they often operate at a loss. He felt that people with canes and walkers have a problem with a salad bar. He also questioned what happened to the leftover food. He thought the food was disposed of and questioned if that was cost efficient. He did a survey of 15 resident communities and only a few had a salad bar and the people with canes and walkers were served. They dispose of the food at the end of the meal. He asked if the Board, under Thelma Burr, report next month on what the cost was to install the salad bar, what the daily cost runs and any and all THA employees who eat at the Congregate that they pay for each meal.

Ms. Polansky noted the salad bar is a big hit for the residents. The location is ideal for the residents to get around and if anyone needs help, the server helps them. Residents that have mobility issues are also allowed to go into the dining room ten minutes earlier. Creative Culinary, which runs the dining program, has salad bars in all its locations and everyone is very happy with it. The menu is in the monthly newsletter. Lunch is $10 by reservation. Ms. Polansky invited him to enjoy the meal and salad bar by paying $10 and eat there any time he wanted, instead of taking pictures of the salad bar and when questioned by the Congregate Attendant, he said Ms. Polansky told him he could take pictures for a brochure. (Mr. Littlefield denied this statement.) Mrs. Burr noted that when she ate lunch there recently, residents with walkers and canes had no problems at all. Mr. Littlefield was asked if he could observe and he was denied.

Gus – commented on the heat pumps. There was a meeting he attended at the Town Hall a couple of weeks ago. The heat pumps were proposed to a committee and he noted it would be a plus because they are energy efficient, it will save on maintenance, electric bills, air conditioning and no AC units in the windows. The consensus was that they wholeheartedly approved and gave total support for the installation of these units.

Robert – commented on the renovation and the fact that they have the option to leave during the renovation. If they do opt to leave and come back, will they be grandfathered in or will there be a new lease. Ms. Polansky noted that nothing would be done until we get the RAP (Rental Assistance Plan). There will be a new lease because it will be a different type of structure with more apartments. Base rate will change but the RAP will cover the additional fees. This will be 15 year coverage for the residents. This information has been in the newsletter and on the website.

Treasurer’s Report
Mrs. Burr reported for the period ending February 29, 2016. Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall loss of $2,238. This is due to the various vacancies in the Village and the Center reducing the rental income. However, new residents will be coming into the Congregate and Village shortly. We continue to maintain our expense structure. All vendors have been paid. The current Accounts Payable amounts to $39,795 which includes our PILOT payments accruing for the current year ending June 30, 2016. Most important is the case position which is healthy at the present time. The Village current cash position has approximately $27,258 and the Center’s cash position is $26,731.

Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Polansky reported the current reserve balance is over $1,384,755 which is approximately $6,238 for each unit in the entire complex, even after the purchase of a new truck for the maintenance staff, a convection oven for the kitchen and a salad bar. She noted the convection oven has been wonderful. The overall cash position as of February 29, 2016 shows a balance of $1,099,474 including our investment account. As of February 29, 2016, we have Accounts Payable of approximately $39,795 including our PILOT accrual for the current year. She is continuing to look at other projects to further improve the facility within the realm of affordability, need and security. Additional refrigerators and ranges were purchased for the Village and a repair of the sprinkler system in the Center was done.

Ms. Polansky noted that everyone is shocked and broken hearted about the passing of Madeline and condolences are being sent to her family. The THA will send flowers to the funeral home on behalf of all the residents of the Village and the Congregate. If you would like to send a card, contact her for an address. The Congregate will continue to run smoothly and she will continue to spend time managing the Congregate until a Congregate Manager is hired. They are looking for a part-time attendant for Saturdays from 3-11pm. If anyone knows of someone who might be interested, please have them contact Ms. Polansky.

Neil and Paulette have been recertifying the Stern Village residents. Neil has also started to recertify the Congregants. Letters have been delivered to Villagers who have not kept their appointments and letters have been delivered to Congregants requesting information for their recertification. The plan is to complete all recertifications within the next few weeks.

Ms. Polansky is working on the Small Cities application with the consultant hired by the Town of Trumbull. If the Town is awarded the $800,000, it will go towards heat pumps for all the apartments in the Village. This will be a significant savings for their UI bills and keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The application will be hand delivered to DOH the middle of this month.

Work is being done on the upcoming SHP application. Several calls have been held with CHFA and DOH to discuss the project. We lowered the redevelopment costs and RAP as per our directives from CHFA and DOH. Frank Stellato and Ms. Polansky met with Stern Village residents to discuss updates to the redevelopment plan based on conversations with CHFA and DOH. Heat pumps, installation of heat pumps and benefits to all residents were also discussed.

Kim from TOVAH met with residents last month and is continuing to work with the residents on what it takes to have a residents’ organization that truly represents all the residents of the THA.

The solar panels should be installed this month on the Congregate building. This green initiative is very exciting for the THA as well as decreasing the cost of the electric bills.

The salad bar has been a big hit. The residents are enjoying the variety and choices. If Villagers would like to eat in the Congregate, please make a reservation. There are no viewings of the salad bar. A resident took pictures of the salad bar and lied to the attendance about why he was there. This is totally unacceptable.

The inner door of the Congregate will be locked 24/7 for the safety of our congregants. Congregants are not allowed to let anyone enter unless that person is a resident of the Congregate. Visitors to the Congregate must sign in. If the attendants do not know who you are, they will ask. If the attendants are given a hard time, you will be asked to leave and an incident report will be added to your file. If you continue to give our attendants a hard time or lie about why you are at the Congregate, you will be banned from the Congregate.

Villagers are allowed to have a visitor stay with them for two weeks a year based on their lease agreement. If Villagers are abusing this privileged, this is in violation of their lease agreement. If the person or persons who are not on the lease agreement are living with the resident, we will start the eviction process. If you see something, say something. There is no retribution from anyone. This is a community within a community. Ms. Polansky calls this community the jewel of Trumbull. Everyone is responsible for protecting the community.

New Business
Discussion and Motion for Tenant Selection Plan – Mrs. Kopchik noted a Tenant Selection Plan was developed by Pam Kazlauskas and Ms. Polansky. Ms. Polansky noted that she has done this for every person since she has been here. It is part of the application process. The idea is to promote fairness and uniformity in resident selection. The Tenant Selection Plan is required for the Small Cities Application and is part of the Fair Housing Action Plan. We need it for Stern Village. Ms. Polansky worked with Pam, who has approximately 20 years in the regulated housing industry, including more than ten years as an Occupancy/Fair Housing instructor for the National Center for Housing Management.

The objective of the Plan is to consolidate relevant policies and procedures affecting resident selection pursuant to applicable CHFA/DOH regulations and federal, state and local laws. The Plan sets out a procedure for processing and selecting applicants, including the establishment of preferences and priorities, occupancy standards, rejection standards, reviews and appeals of rejection decisions and notice requirements.

The Plan is designed to detail the application and selection process for those who may have questions or wish information on the process. She has been abiding by this plan since she started. Once it is approved, it will be put on the website and provided to every applicant at the time they sign the lease and become a resident of Stern Village or the Congregate.

Mrs. Kopchik made a motion to approve the Tenant Selection Plan. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.

Adjournment
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik, seconded by Mrs. Burr, to adjourn the meeting at 4:21 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Crandall
Clerk

These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.

Minutes THA March 2016