Commissioners approve waiver of payment to allow housing authority to make renovations

Junction City Mayor Pat Landes (left) and Commissioner Nicholas Allbritton discuss city business during Tuesday night's meeting.

The Junction City Housing Authority will be able to save some money to use on renovation projects following Tuesday night’s city commissioners meeting.

Amanda Sims — the housing authority’s executive director — requested a waiver of the 2017 payment in lieu of taxes in the amount of approximately $16,157 during the meeting. The waiver would allow for renovations to improve public housing facilities.

“We have lost funding,” Sims said. “We have 118 low-income apartments throughout the community. We’ve remodeled all but 29 since 2012. The units were built in the early- to mid-1980s.”

The housing authority currently has 13 units off line for interior modernization projects. The modernization projects include the replacement of all interior and some exterior doors, window trim, door trim, cabinets, countertops, appliances, bathtubs and shower surroundings, electrical fixtures, flooring and some windows. The housing authority has also identified four units that will need to be pulled off line in the future, along with several buildings that will need new roofs over the next couple years.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allows the housing authority to address many of those issues, but funding has been cut back over the past several years, Sims said. Waiving the housing authority’s payment in lieu of taxes — a payment made to compensate a government for some or all of the property tax revenue lost due to tax exempt ownership or use of real property — will not address all planned projects, but will allow for the completion of a few that can then be put back on the market for leasing.

City Manager Allen Dinkel said he hated to see a loss of revenue, but noted that the city is currently in a decent enough financial position to accommodate the request. Commissioner Tim Brown said the waiver is a good idea, and Mayor Pat Landes agreed, although he said the request shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.

“I don’t want it to be every year,” Landes said.

Commissioners approved the waiver, and the housing authority will continue with modernization efforts to improve units.

In other business, Junction City High School senior Corbin Sanner — commander of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps’ drill team — announced that the JROTC will host a food drive for its JROTC Program Accreditation inspection in February.

“We were tasked with identifying an issue in our community,” Sanner said. “This year, we took on a food drive.”

JROTC members will be distributing flyers for the food drive, and those interested in donating can do so at the front office in the high school.

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