Trumbull Housing Authority
May 19, 2014
Community Room of Stern Village
Commissioners Present: Linda Nassrah, Susan Fatse, Thelma Burr and Suzanne Donofrio
Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky
The meeting was called to order at 4:08 pm by Commissioner Nassrah. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Motion was made by Ms. Nassrah, seconded by Ms. Burr, to approve the minutes of the THA of April 28, 2014 as written. Approved unanimously.
Mr. Paul Littlefield noted that both Executive Director Polansky and the Tenants’ Association agree that safety within the village is the first concern. He requested the THA hire a contractor to sweep Hedgehog Circle, including along the curbs, to clean up loose gravel, stones, dirt and debris that has accumulated. He felt this debris is an eyesore which detracts from the quality of life in the village and adversely affects the marketability of vacant units. He noted there should be sufficient funds in the non-restricted retained earnings account, which showed a balance of over $238,000 as of December 31, 2013, to hire a contractor to clean the streets.
With regard to the THA’s vote on the budgets for the village and congregate for fiscal year 2014-2015, Mr. Littlefield requested an explanation as to why line item 4160, Pensions and Other Funds, has been running over 200% in excess of budget. He requested clarification on the Other Funds and what steps have been taken to correct the situation.
Mr. Littlefield also questioned what amount has been budgeted for village rental income in excess of the base and if the projected base rental income is at the same level as this year.
He also requested when budgets will be available for review as they have not been placed on the website.
Ms. Nassrah thanked Mr. Littlefield and noted that some of his concerns will be addressed in the Executive Director’s report. Anything unable to be addressed will be presented at a later time.
Ms. Burr noted all payments for the month of May have been made.
Executive Director’s Report
Mrs. Polansky reported for the ten months ending April 30, 2014, Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall loss of $7,414. Costs appear to be in line with anticipated costs for all the services anticipated in the budget for the entire year. The loss can be attributed, at the present time, to a decrease income due to vacancies which are higher than anticipated for our provision for vacancy loss calculation mandated by the State. We now anticipate that the vacancies will diminish in the coming months and the new rent schedule for the new tenants will alleviate this loss. Some expenses are higher, for example, medical insurance, water, cable TV, maintenance wages and supplies, and legal costs which are being offset by lower costs to date in property insurance premiums, contract services, outside accountant and audit fees. Anticipated overall costs should even out by the end of the fiscal year because of timing issues with the budget preparation. Currently the reserve balance is over $1,701,000 which is approximately $7,317 for each unit in the complex. Overall cash position as of April 30, 2014 shows a balance of $1,653,000 and accounts payable of approximately $31,929. We received our fourth quarter payment from the state for the subsidy of congregate services for the year ending June 30, 2014.
We are in a strong position to go forward into the year. A new air conditioning unit has been installed in the congregate and we will be continuing to look at other projects to further improve and upgrade the facility within the realm of affordability and need. We have contracted with the Millennium Group in obtaining grants through various state agencies and the process of evaluating our requirements, goals and feasibility will begin this week. We are in the process of developing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for architectural design services.
Mrs. Polansky noted the town is responsible for maintaining the main road. She will contact the town to see what can be done with regard to the first request. In order to pave the entire village, it would cost over $1,000,000 and this will be addressed with Millennium.
Over the last few weeks, we had a severe rain storm and over 75,000 gallons of water were removed from the apartments. We are looking at this very closely as well.
There is an issue with handicapped parking spots in that there are not enough. She encouraged the residents to have aides and visitors park a distance from their units as more handicapped spots will be put in.
Mrs. Polansky and others went to a CHFA meeting last week and she noted we are considered a property in distress. This is not just us, but other properties as major improvements have not been done since the original construction over 40 years ago. That is why we contracted with Millennium and will be doing a 20 year sustainable plan. We will be looking at creative ways to get funding to rehabilitate the buildings and the congregate. We must look at the property, meaning Stern Village and Stern Center, very closely. We will need an environmental firm and an architectural design firm to assess the property. Mrs. Polansky will be looking at structural needs first. The inside of the apartments will be beautiful and energy efficient using the highest technology possible; also looking into solar and geothermal grants.
Mrs. Polansky noted the animals have been a problem at night and are opening up the trash containers. Steps are being taken to prevent this but she asked that all trash be disposed of appropriately and the lids closed. RWS is making signs so residents will be aware.
Scrap metal is collected in the back of the property and in the dumpster area. This collection is for us as we turn this in for money. It should not be taken by anyone for their personal gain.
A new map of the village, completed by the University of Bridgeport as a class project, was presented.
Mrs. Polansky noted she is looking very closely at costs and how she can save. One area may be with non-food items for the congregate. She is looking at different vendors.
Ms. Nassrah noted at the last meeting a resident commented the waste management company was not emptying the garbage cans appropriately. Mrs. Polansky noted they are emptying them fully.
Ms. Nassrah asked how many vacancies they currently have. Mrs. Polansky noted there are four vacancies with expected move in date as of June 1 and July 1 after rehab of the units. The congregate has one vacancy.
No unfinished business.
Ms. Nassrah noted the THA would be approving the Management Plan for Stern Village, the Management plan for Stern Center and the Congregate Services Plan. These plans have been reviewed by the commissioners. Ms. Nassrah made a motion to approve the resolution for the Management Plan for Stern Village, Management Plan for Stern Center and the Congregate Services Plan for the fiscal year of July 1, 2104 – June 30, 2015. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio. Discussion.
Mrs. Polansky noted they have not raised rents this year. Any raise was for the new tenants for the past year and has provided additional income. However, there has not been a significant turnover of apartments so only 20 residents have been affected by the new rents.
Mrs. Polansky noted that one change is the addition of a Resident Services Coordinator (RSC) position. This position was turned down by the previous administration but housing authorities of this size have an RSC on staff. Responsibilities will include:
1. Assessing the individual needs of the residents and working with them to establish and maintain linkages to needed support services and assure compliance with the rules and regulations in the THA Admittance and Continued Occupancy Policy (available this summer).
2. Maintaining regular contact with the residents, monitoring the delivery of support services, providing assistance/advocacy as related to assistance and social services to all residents.
3. Providing up-to-date information and clarification regarding programs.
4. Be knowledgeable about Medicare and Medicaid and can make a phone call for services for all residents.
5. Maintaining/facilitating relationships with community resources.
6. Acting as liaison with local care providers, hospitals to ensure successful discharge from facilities and transition of residents to their apartments.
7. Working with residents and families when planning a transfer to a nursing home or long term care facility.
8. Facilitating the resolution of inter-residential conflicts and resident family difficulties
9. Working with the Executive director, Stern Village Neighborhood Watch and the THA Board to make sure everything is running smoothly.
10. Planning employee training sessions and educating the residents
11. Promoting a positive social climate that fosters the resident’s psycho-social well-being by developing, implementing and monitoring education and therapeutic programs for resident participation.
This individual will work with all residents and will be a hands-on type of role.
Hours of the Community Room were discussed. Hours are now until 7pm. This will be put in the monthly newsletter so residents are aware of the late hours. Often times the building is not utilized when it is time to lock it.
The motion to approve the resolution for the Management Plan for Stern Village, Management Plan for Stern Center and the Congregate Services Plan for the fiscal year of July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 as made at the May 19, 2014 regular board meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority (THA) was unanimously approved by the THA Board of Commissioners.
Motion was made by Ms. Nassrah to enter into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at 4:32 pm. Invited individuals will be Mrs. Polansky and Mr. Gerhardt. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously. Motion was made by Ms. Nassrah to end the Executive Session at 4:38 pm, seconded by Mrs. Donofrio. Approved unanimously.
There being no further business, motion was made by Ms. Nassrah to adjourn the meeting at 4:38 pm; seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.
These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.