GLASGOW — Operating and capital fund budgets for the housing choice voucher and public housing programs offered by the Housing Authority of Glasgow for the upcoming fiscal year were approved Thursday by the agency’s board of directors.
Sheri Lee, executive operations director, reviewed the budgets with the board, starting with the operating budget for the housing choice voucher program, which assists people with housing in the private market.
In taking a look at that budget, she noted the housing authority would be receiving $37,614 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget reflects a decrease in administrative fees for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31. The housing authority earns money for every voucher under lease by the first day of each month.
“If we had all 338 of our vouchers leased up times the 12 months, the maximum administrative fees we could earn is the $226,568. With the passage of the the appropriations this year for the federal budget, our administrative fees will be prorated at 79 percent of that,” she said. “That’s why there is a reduction of $47,580.”
The only way the housing authority could get additional administrative funding would be if the U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development still has monies available in a line item at the end of the federal fiscal year and disburses it to housing authorities nationwide.
“There is a chance we could get some additional administrative fee money, but it’s too early to tell,” she said.
The administrative fee the housing authority earns is not just for salaries and benefits for employees. It is also used to cover other expenses, such as background checks for program participants and annual property inspections.
“We are trying to educate and get the word out that the administrative fee we earn is not just for salaries and benefits. There are other mandatory expenses due to regulation that we have to cover,” she said.
“The bottom line is with the 79 percent proration on our administrative fee and the expenses we are budgeting for we would end up this year with a deficit of $37,614. If you add back in the $37,000 that we are going to get for the COVID, we will almost break even. I think there will be a shortfall of under $100.”
Included in the budget is up to a 3 percent pay increase for employees, she said.
In reviewing the public housing operating budget, Lee said the housing authority is projecting a modest increase in the income. The amount the housing authority is projecting to receive is $1.37 million.
As for expenditures, the housing authority has budgeted $364,120 for administrative salaries.
A sum of $82,520 has been budgeted for tenant services, which covers the HERO Center manager and the family self-sufficiency coordinator salaries and benefits.
For utilities, the housing authority has budgeted $426,300. Lee also pointed out that the housing authority is projecting an increase in maintenance expenses due to COVID and the additional expenses the housing authority is incurring to provide personal protective equipment for its staff, and also for the backlog of preventive maintenance that will have developed by the time the housing authority’s maintenance employees are allowed to enter the rental units.
Lee told the board the housing authority’s health insurance has increased by 10 percent and property insurance has increased by 17 percent. In addition, the housing authority is increasing its insurance coverage to include cyber coverage.
She also told the board the public housing program’s operating subsidy from HUD will decrease.
“Our proration, I think it was like 96 percent last year. It will be around 94 to 95 percent this year,” she said. “It’s a small decrease in the proration, which means less operating subsidy for us for this year.”
She continued that a deficit of $499,002 is projected for the fiscal year.
“I say that because we projected a deficit over $600,000 last year, but we had a surplus of a little over $50,000 before depreciation,” Lee said. “We are going to end up the same way this year.”
The public housing program started the fiscal year with $2.4 million in reserves.
“With this projection of a deficit of $499,000, it will take us down to $1.9 million. HUD regulations says a housing authority our size should have four months’ worth of reserves. We’re at just under a year’s worth,” Lee said, adding that the housing authority will be receiving $123,000 to go toward COVID expenses.
She explained the housing authority has been asking residents to mail in rent payments, and as a result some of the funds to be allocated for COVID expenses will be used to cover additional costs for postage and paperwork.
“We’re trying to help as much as we can with applicants and still keep folks housed,” she said.
The board also approved the housing authority’s 2020 capital fund budget, which includes a substantial increase in capital funds for this year.
In 2019, the agency received around $875,000 in capital funds.
“This year we are going to receive $930,530,” Lee said. “The increase we are receiving is basically being spent on the Sam Terry upgrade that we are doing.”
The exterior upgrades for rental units along Sam Terry Avenue were included in the housing authority’s five-year plan, but the project was moved up because of the increase in capital fund budget.
That budget also includes the cost for a couple of projects that will be funded with the money the housing authority is expecting to receive due to COVID-19.
The board also approved a proposal from Coleman Contracting of Morgantown to do exterior upgrades to rental units along Sam Terry Avenue at a cost of $325,289.51.
One of the projects is the placement of a dropbox for residents to drop off paperwork or rental payments, maintenance on the gym floor at the HERO Center and concrete repairs due to standing water, the replacement of exterior carpet and wood flooring at Huntsman Manor and kitchen plumbing work at rental units along Park Avenue and McGrah Avenue.