Finance Committee split on using housing rehabilitation funds on duplex roof repairs

Posted: Mar. 4, 2013 11:08 pm Updated: Mar. 18, 2013 11:15 pm

By DOUG WILSONHerald-Whig Senior Writer

Quincy's Finance Committee was split on whether to use housing rehabilitation funds to repair the roof of a duplex at 636-638 Elm Street.

The issue will go to the full City Council next week without a Finance Committee recommendation.

City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer said a nuisance complaint was made about one side of the duplex, which has large holes in the roof. The owner of the property, who lives in the other side of the duplex, is not financially able to pay for roof repairs. Family members are unable to help.

"This is a 72-year-old woman, and I tried to get her some help from local agencies," Bevelheimer said.

Programs operated by the Two Rivers Regional Council, Quincy Township and a state-sponsored senior housing program would usually be available, but they do not provide assistance for work on duplexes.

Bevelheimer proposed that funds that have been repaid to the city's housing rehabilitation program could pay for roof repairs that have been bid at $6,100.

"We can use this as revolving loan money and put a mortgage lien against the house so we're first in line if the house sells," Bevelheimer said.

Aldermen Mike Farha and Tony Sassen, both 4th Ward Republicans, opposed the idea.

"This would be a horrific precedent," Farha said.

Sassen said the city might be flooded with other homeowners seeking similar help.

Alderman Steve Duesterhaus, D-1, said it would not set a precedent, since the funds would come from a housing rehabilitation account. In addition, the homeowner is ineligible for other assistance programs and the city would eventually recoup the money.

Bevelheimer said the situation is unique, and he does not believe approving it will create a precedent because it is complaint driven. Homeowners could not request assistance through the line item unless their properties were turned in as a nuisance by neighbors.

"If they're not seniors, they're on their own. These funds are for senior housing rehab. And if this was not a duplex, this lady could get other help," Bevelheimer said.

Aldermen also will hear a Finance Committee recommendation in favor of $76,000 in supplemental budget funding to cover EPA Superfund costs for monitoring Landfills 2 & 3. The city is obligated to cover 38 percent of the $200,000 needed for the next round of compliance work.

City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp said the city pays into the landfill account every 10 or 11 months.