Lake must repay some tornado aid money
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#1 May 22, 2009
Commissioners Tuesday April 28TH made moves to inject more responsibility into the county's affordable housing assistance program. Beneficiaries of the program will have to pay back their entire loan on the spot if they ever sell their property or make other moves prohibited in the county's plan, which is updated every three years. Previously, the restrictions expired after five, 15 and 30 years for various programs. The move means Lake will continue to collect money and keep its assistance program going where it lost money before, said commissioner Elaine Renick. Renick also took issue with differences in grant amounts that qualifying residents can get to buy new or existing homes. Previously, residents could get up to $175,000 to help pay for a new, detached home.ACTUALLY MANY NEW HOMES WERE BUILT FOR UNQUALIFIED FRIENDS AND FAMILY AT A COST OF $158,000 EACH ABSOLUTELY FREE. YES THEY NEVER HAVE TO PAY ONE DIME FOR THESE HOMES WHILE OTHERS ARE LIVING IN THEIR CARS. Commissioners said that amount should be dropped to equal the limit for help in buying existing homes; that limit is set at $15,000 in the updated plan. The program was never intended to pay for the full purchase price of a home but, while the commission was looking the other way untold numbers of free homes were being built right under their noses.Check out Alt Key#:1454263 a Free home given by you the taxpayers to an adult family of five (One is a fast food store manager, who is actually granted the homestead exemption by being named on the deed) Even after receiving a new home on their lot it is assessed at $76,108. which Ed Havill's office totally exempts and the owners of the free house have not taxes to pay on same. Are we they taxpayers paying the home insurance for them also? The changes mean the county can help more residents (like the disabled lady shown on channel 9 living in her car with her assist dog somewhere around Tavares) who are either homeless, in substandard housing or looking to buy their first home, Renick said.
"If we're very careful with this money, it's going to go a lot further," Renick said.
The program gives help to very low-, low- and middle-income residents who qualify through the program. Income levels are based on federal calculations.
But no matter a family's income, issues like insurance coverage muddied the waters for some commissioners.
C ommissioner Jimmy Conner20wanted to prevent help for home rehab following natural disasters from going to homeowners who have insurance, saying the county's commitment would give insurance companies incentive to avoid paying claims.
Damage repair assistance can only be granted for damage insurance does not cover, according to the plan. Commissioners did not add Conner's suggestion.
Commission chairman Welton Cadwell voted against all the suggested changes, saying at one point there was a difference of "philosophies" when dealing with housing assistance and that the most important part of the program was helping people who otherwise can't get into a home.
In other housing news:
-- A reduction in federal money for rental assistance means some residents receiving county help could lose their rent money this summer. The federal budget was passed later than usual this year, meaning local governments have not been able to plan as far ahead for needed funds for federal Section 8 housing, said Stacey Kleinfeld, the county's Section 8 housing coordinator.
That delay, combined with a reduction in funding as part of the uncertainty, led county officials to enact a plan that would cut some rental assistance funding for the last three months of the fiscal year: July August and September. The plan, if implemented, could affect 100 to 120 families
#2 May 22, 2009
County Overspends Administrative Fees by $50,000 to $70,000
At the May 19, 2009, County Commission meeting, under questioning from Commissioner Jimmy Conner, information was presented that county government overspent administrative funds for administering the Tornado/Disaster Assistance Fund by $50,000 to $70,000. These funds were part of the FHFC (special government) disaster funds for tornado victims in February of 2007.
Lake County spent $2.8 million on tornado relief and was eligible to spend 10% or $280,000 in administrative oversight. However, the county hired additional staff and spent between $330,000 and $350,000, which is $50,000 to $70,000 more than allowed. The county must reconcile this discrepancy and will likely be forced to transfer money from the general fund to pay for this overspending.
Conner said he was disappointed in this mismanagement of tax dollars and felt it was his duty to inform the public.
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