Trumbull Housing Authority
April 4, 2016
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.
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of February 22, 2016 as written. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.
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.
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.
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.
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik, seconded by Mrs. Burr, to adjourn the meeting at 4:21 pm.
These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.