I am beginning to see changes in the Board of the Lehigh County Commissioners. More interest on spending then I had seen in the past. When someone from the Administration comes forward at a Committee meeting, they are prepared, with cost comparisons from last year. Many know. I will ask for this information and the Commissioners are now evaluating each request for renewal of professional contracts with costs in mind. This is a good thing. I will keep this progress going forward in all aspects of spending.
The following are 1st readings
Bill 2011-01 Professional Services for Mental Health Review Officer is required by law. The cost is 12,000.00 for the year and has not changed form last year.
Bill 2011-02 Professional Services with Bellezza Hair and body Cafe LLC. His is for the Nursing Homes. This contract went out to bid with a cost savings of 9000.00 per year on a two year contract.
Bill 2011-03 thru 06 No money involved kind of a slam dunk.
Bill 2011-07 Approving the process of selling Real Property in So. Whitehall.
This property is near Dorney Park and they have wanted to purchase it for several years. Back in 2005 the Commissioners had leased the property for purchase to Ashley Development and they never did anything with it.
They now want to sell this 6.5 acres again. But, not just sell it, they want the buyer to address what will be built,how much tax revenue the government will get, how many jobs will be created and the list goes on. They will also want top dollar for the property. My feeling, is that they will have this property for a long time. That is of course, unless a taxpayer subsidized purchaser is found.
Speaking of Taxpayer subsidized purchasers.
Bill 2011-08 Cedar Village:
What is Cedar Village ; consists of four floors of “affordable” one-bedroom apartments (50) and some common area space built above the County-owned single -floor Cedar View office building on the “Cedarbrook campus” in So. Whitehall. I'm not kidding!
Fifteen years ago (with the refined wisdom of our elected officials) the County provided a loan of $1,426,000.00 @ 7% interest to “Cedar Village Associates”, a limited partnership in which Valley Housing Development Corporation (“VHDC”) has held a 1% share and the rights to buy out the limited partnership at the conclusion of the compliance period, which has just ended. Throughout this (15 year period) the County has been providing a $5,000.00 per month grant to help stabilize the finances of the operation. ($900,000.00). As of the end of 2010 the County Grant expired and the interset rate on the loan automatically increased to 9%, creating potential financial havoc for the “Cedar Village Apartments”, which are fully occupied. This agreement was established in accordance with Ordinance 1993-157.
The investors in Cedar Village Associates have exhausted their tax advantages and are ready to exit the business and the Lehigh County Housing Authority wants to ensure that these 50 “affordable” apartments (with the help of taxpayer money) continue to meet the existing needs. Accordingly, a total new structure is required to allow for the exit of the original investors and for the Lehigh County Housing Authority to operate Cedar Village in a financially viable manner.
The ordinance under consideration resuls in the full pay off of the remaining loan balance of $1,061,000.00 to the County, the transferance of the lease to the Lehigh County Housing Authority for 99 years and the County agreeing to provide $ 5,000.00 per month in Grant support for an additional 5 years. ($ 300,000.00)
Why should the County provide financial assistance for 5 more years ? Their answer is ; In providing “affordable” housing , the Lehigh County Housing Authority obviously runs on a very tight budget. (unlike the County) By having the security of the County grant ( your money) for five more years, the Authority has been able to secure full mortgage financing in this tight market at a good interest rate. Additionally, the County is able to extract itself form this “business” in five years verses potentially carrying a new loan for up to 25 years.
How will the monthly County contribution be funded? Their answer is:The $5,000.00 per month will be drawn from the Cedarview Apartment fund as it has been for the past 15 years. In other words (taxpayer) money. That is endless they find it growing on a tree.
What will we do with the mortgage payoff money? Their answer is: the mortgage has been handled as a “receivable” within the Green Futures Fund and will simply be converted to cash in the fund. It is not “found “ money available to be spent on other projects. This sounds good, hope it works.
Lets do the math; Original Loan $1,426,000.00
$5,000.00 per month for 15 years 900,000.00
$5,000.00 per month for 5 more years 300,000.00
Cost $1,200,000.00 over 20 years
I hope the inverters made money