Archive for April 15, 2008

TA DA!!! MULEY IS BACKKKKKK AND BOLD WITH BLOGGING

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April 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm 2 comments

HOLD HARMLESS- CRA- LORAIN

CRA Non Standing Committee Meeting – Hold Harmless

The City Council Committee of Tax Incentives met this evening April 14th a little after 6. This Committee is classified as NOT being a Standing Committee of CouncilThe members of the committee are Chairman of Buildings and Lands – M. Silecky
Federal Programs- E. EdwardsFinance and Claims – M. Fallis. Mr. Edwards was chosen as Chair of this Committee- Howard Goldberg (Community Development) is the Committee Secretary

The purpose of the meeting was a review of the applications and applicants for the CRA program in Lorain‘s CRA areas and to make a recommendation to the housing officer to accept the applications received from Residential property owners and Infill
Housing and Commercial properties, including new builds and rehabs.

Tonight’s meeting also had “members of the public attending as well as MJ reporter, Law Director Mark Provenza , and fellow council person for the 2nd Ward Dennis Flores. Mr. Prudoff arrived toward the end of the meeting

Due to questions re background on the program and what it would happen if the recommendations were then passed to City of Lorain’s Housing Officer and then the program was found to be illegal in the courts- what would be the situation for the city ?

Mark Provenza stated that the new applicants were tying up their fees and were aware they would be taking a chance -depending upon the outcome of the litigation- However should the City’s program be found to be illegal or the court case went against the city all fees would be returned to them and also to the property owners who had previously applied and that the City of Lorain is protected under a ‘HOLD HARMLESS CLAUSE’ in the contract. it has with the applicants .

Two homeowners that have been caught up in the CRA ( new Build) asked to speak and asked the committee to please hold a public meeting where homeowners caught up in this situation through acting in good faith could address the City and get some answers as their council people cannot help them due “ to one working for the Auditor “ and the other “working for Oster.” It was stated that they have attorneys literally knocking on people’s doors in their neighborhood –like vacuum cleaner salesman -looking for homeowners to file class actions suits. There is confusion and hardship and very little answers being given to these homeowners .

Mr. Edwards and the Committee agreed that this (public meeting) should happen as hundreds of homeowners have been caught up in this .

Mr. Goldberg stated he gets 15 and 20 phone calls from distressed and distraught residents, but that the Auditor is only denying the CRA abatement in certain CRA areas mainly area CRA 4 and 3. He also stated that the program had been working and that Lorain was seeing an increase in new builds because of the program and the benefits in the CRA 4 and 3 area but that it had slowed to a trickle since the “denials”.

The frustration of the homeowners was again addressed and Prudoff said that the City of Lorain is and has been trying diligently to address the situation in fact he stated they has spent 10’s of 10’s of thousands of dollars in trying to do so. in fighting for the applicants .

Mr. Goldberg stated that the City has had many meetings with the County but the situation is now in the Courts. The city is trying to ascertain as to whether the County Auditor Stewart has the right to denial or if indeed as the Assistant County Prosecutor has stated ( letter in packet given to Committee members) that his job is purely administerial.

I stated -for the record , that part of the frustration is for property owners who believe they DO meet the CRA program requirements, who purchased their property after the 2006 legislation and new builds even under Mr. Stewarts guidelines have been denied , and although they have contacted the Auditor, through registered mail – no information is forthcoming from that office and they cannot appeal through the State as the State cannot ascertain as to whether Stewart has the right to denial in the first place. In the meantime they have to pay the increased mortgage payments, attorneys and the level of frustration is building.

The Committee asked about other pre 1994 CRA areas, and Mr. Goldberg gave a list of areas and their programs. Also it was clarified that the Sub Committee on Tax Incentives really acted to make sure that all was equitable and fair that person did not receive preferential treatment due to knowing someone etc.

Questions arose as to the information on each parcel and the process of approval. Mr. Goldberg explained that the criteria for application was looked at before the application was accepted from the owner of the property, that all requirements to take part in the program were met.

The Committee recommended 63 residential parcels- 1 infill – Affordable Housing Program 19 – Commercial 1.
It was decided that in future the committee would also receive all background information on each parcel that wished to be in the program rather than the list of address/owners etc.

April 15, 2008 at 12:17 am 2 comments


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