Local public housing receives high score

NEW ULM — Local public housing has received a high score on a recent assessment from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Economic Development Authority (EDA) heard during a short meeting Tuesday.

Periodically HUD completes an assessment of public housing programs called the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS). The assessment evaluates on four indicators: physical, financial, management and Capital Fund.

New Ulm’s PHAS score was 96 percent our of 100 percent. This score places local public housing as a high performer in public housing.

Board member Les Schultz said this high score was a significant achievement and he complimented staff for their hard work all year round.

In other news, a request of Citizens Bank to subordinate an EDA loan to a new bank mortgage was approved. The loan is for a property at 317 N. Minnesota St. The original loan amount was $25,000 and the first loan payment was received in March 2009. The current balance is $2,348. The new subordinate loan is $80,000 and will be used for roof replacement and repairs.

The board authorized a full membership in the Greater Minnesota Partnership. This group gives rural communities political clout at the capital. The Greater Minnesota Partnership is a spin-off of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. It is specifically for economic development and targets membership of those that have an interest in this issue.

The annual financial report for the EDA was received and approved. Finance Director Nicole Jorgensen said it was overall a good year. Cash and investments were up by $600,000. Operating revenue was down, but this was offset by a decrease in housing assistance payments.

In the last month, Assistant City Manager and Economic Development Director Chris Dalton spoke with the city manager of St. Peter to discuss child care programs in that city and the effectiveness of the programs. Dalton said based on the conversation he will write a report that could come before the board within the next few months.

A bid of $5,435.50 from Southern Minnesota Custom Cutters & Guards was approved for the family unit gutter project approved last month. The project was estimated between $5,000 and $10,000 is placing this bid on the lower end of the estimate. Capital Fund grants will be used to cover the cost.

Requests for proposals (RFPs) for landscaping improvements at Garden Terrance were submitted, but no proposals were received. The board decided to extend the deadline for the RFP to give businesses the opportunity to create proposals over the winter.