HOUSING COMMISSION MEETING
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Chairman, Dr. Bernard F. Ross, who read the Open Public Meetings Act Statement prescribed by law, called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M. Notice of the meeting was published in the Ridgewood News on May 24, 2001, posted in the Township Hall and filed in the Township Clerk’s office.
Minutes of the meeting are available from the Township Clerk, and the Secretary of the Housing Commission upon adoption by the Commission.
Salute To the Flag.
Present: Calandrillo, Martel (8:15 PM), Plicinski, Raiz, Ross. Business Administrator,
Brian Campion and Township Associate Attorney Donna Tamayne, were also present.
Absent: Brotherton, Snyder.
Calandrillo made the motion to approve the minutes of the February 19, 2002 Housing Commission meeting. Plicinski seconded. Motion approved.
Calandrillo moved to open the Public Portion of the meeting. Seconded by Raiz. Motion passed.
Julia Smith, 1201 Norfolk Rd., Apt. 2-C addressed the Commission on behalf of the 23 (twenty-three), Norfolk Village residents in attendance. Smith read a letter of concern from the residents over the possible 2002 rental increases of 6.3% and 5.75% for the three income tiers, as determined by NJHMF. Since all Norfolk tenants are senior citizens and on fixed incomes they are distressed over the annual increases.
Ross explained contrary to the information given to the tenants, the increases have not been set. The Township probably will not know the true increase until next month. The information which has been received is for new leases, not renewals.
Ross asked the residents to be patient until the actual numbers are received at which point the Commission will fight for them.
Martha Greenberg, 1201 Norfolk Rd., Apt. 1-H, understands that one tier may be increased as much as $50.00 (fifty dollars). Again, Ross stated, the actual increase has not been confirmed.
Campion reinforced the Chairman’s statements; the Landlord has not fixed the increases for lease renewals at this time. What the COAH regulations provides for and what the Township has to follow because it’s a State regulation and is also regulated under the Township’s Affordable Housing Plan there will be a % increase in the rents. Norfolk Village was constructed using the Federal Housing Low Income Tax Credit program. COAH regulations provide properties constructed under this program allow the landlord to raise the rent on a yearly basis according to the index. The index used for this is the Federal Housing and Urban index, which in New Jersey is used by the NJHMFA. The yearly rents may be increased yearly based on these figures. The HUD numbers for New Jersey have been published, and it appears the increase between 2001 and 2002 is approximately 5.75%. It is possible the rents can be raised 5.75% for persons with existing leases. However, this has not yet been determined. Certain other indexes will not be published until sometime in April, 2002, the Commission would like to compare both indexes before anything can be determined.
Dorothy Schell, 1201 Norfolk Rd., Apt. 3-O, spoke to the Commission about her dissatisfaction with the Landlord and the yearly rental increases. Again, Ross asked the residents to be patient and wait for definitive numbers before further discussion. Schell inquired about the figures COAH uses.
Campion explained COAH uses two indexes to determine what the annual rental increases can be. The COAH regulations states that for Affordable units there can be an annual increase based on the CPI index, except for projects constructed under the Federal Low Income Tax Credit program, then the HUD index is used. Last year the COAH, CPI index was below the HUD index, some years one is higher, some years lower. In 2001 COAH, CPI index was 3.6%; the HUD index was 2.75%. The 2002 COAH will not publish their index until sometime in April.
Ross again asked the residents to please wait until next month.
Campion reviewed 1999 rental increase situation and the outcome.
Martel asked the residents to please be patient, the Township will not forget about them, however, at present we are unable to do anything.
Calandrillo feels very badly that the residents have been alarmed prematurely. She also asked the residents to allow the Township time to receive all pertinent information.
Campion reminded everyone, once the new increase is established the owner, under the Township’s Plan, must send the information to the Township for review, before it becomes effective. At that time, we will be able to proceed.
Smith feels seniors should be in a separate category for affordable housing.
Schell stated not all residents received rental refunds from the 1999 Court Case. Martel believes the individuals received credit toward their rents, refunds were not given. Calandrillo asked for clarification. Tamayne will pursue the matter and report back to the Commission.
Marcella Thielemann, 1201 Norfolk Rd., Apt. 2-J, asked why the tenants are not receiving yearly interest from their security deposits. Ross said the Tamayne will check and find out if the interest is accrued or returned yearly.
Campion reviewed the Tiers applicable to Norfolk Village and the way income tiers are determined. Moderate households are 80% of the regional median income, low income households are 60% and below of the regional median income. The rents are determined according to income tiers.
Calandrillo moved to close the Public Portion. Plicinski seconded. Motion passed.
Housing Manager’s Reports
Reports were reviewed. The two violations are scheduled for Court appearances on March 26, 2002.
One unit is going to Sheriff’s Sale on April 5, 2002, Tamayne will check on procedure for purchase by the Township.
Calandrillo made the motion, that the Housing Commission is interested in acquiring 2107 Hawthorne Ln., Mahwah and is instructing Tamayne to contact the owner, the bank and the Sheriff’s Dept. Raiz seconded. Motion passed.
a. Development Fee-Spending Plan – Ross reported on a recent meeting, which was attended by Campion, Tamayne, Ross, Raiz and Reed. Ideas for using monies collected under the Development Fee-Spending Plan were discussed. One was rental subsidies, to cover a portion of rental increase at Norfolk Village. If this occurs, it must be stressed it will be done on a one time basis, it can not be a yearly occurrence.
Calandrillo mentioned we need a better understanding of the situation and treat everyone as fairly as possible. Consideration must be given to all. Other ideas are for the Township to purchase units as they become available, resell them to Eligible Certified households and extend the Affordable housing restrictions.
Ross suggested we make an appointment with COAH representatives to discuss our ideas. Raiz will contact COAH in an attempt to schedule a meeting.
New Business -
a. Development Fee- Annual Performance Report –Report was reviewed and approved.
b. Reimbursement Request – Steven Schnoll, 780 Sassafras Court, Mahwah has made a request to be reimbursed for his 1995 expenses of $260.00 from his Account for preparation of a compiled financial statement for Affordable Housing. In reviewing the incident when Schnoll appeared before the Housing Commission in May of 1997, Calandrillo made a motion to reimburse Schnoll the one time fee of $260.00. Raiz seconded. Martel suggested a letter be sent to establish Schnoll is in agreement and this will bring the matter to a close. Motion approved.
Being no further business Calandrillo made the motion for adjournment at 9:30 P.M. Raiz seconded. Motion approved. The next scheduled Housing Commission meeting is Tuesday, April 16, 2002.
Mary Ann Reed
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