Published: Thursday, October 26, 2017 @ 11:19 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2017 @ 11:54 AM
By: Cornelius Frolik - Staff Writer
— The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says it has “significant and continuing” concerns about Dayton’s ability to manage taxpayer dollars after the city forfeited nearly $477,000 in federal funding for not meeting statutory deadlines.
The Dayton Daily News in July broke the story that Dayton forfeited $476,624 in HOME dollars because the city did not have signed and executed agreements with two contractors by deadline.
HUD is working to get answers from the city about how much of its HOME funds are committed and more clarity on what the city has done to increase affordable housing under the program because its record keeping is not clear, said Brian Sullivan, a HUD spokesman.
“We are still working with the city to untangle what really is a confusing state of affairs with their HOME program,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, has sent two letters to the city this month demanding documents showing the city has signed and executed agreements for its HOME funds, as well as an action plan for how it intends to “address the mismanagement of HOME funds.”
Turner claims the city is at risk of losing $4 million in federal funds if it does not comply with program requirements.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the city has been in touch with U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, who have helped the city work through the issues with HUD. Whaley said the city must and will resolve the issues.
“I think it’s pretty obvious we’ve had issues up on the sixth floor, and we’re working through those and continuing to work through those,” she said, referring to the department of planning and community development, which is located on the sixth floor of City Hall.
The director and executive secretary of the department resigned in June after being placed on administrative leave the previous month for reasons not made public.
In a statement last week, Dayton City Manager Shelley said the nearly $4 million Turner referenced has been committed thought the city’s 2015, 2016 and 2017 action plans.
Dayton received just less than $1.1 million in HOME dollars for fiscal year 2016.
The city did not have to repay HUD, and the affordable housing projects that did not meet the commitment deadlines were completed, Dickstein said.
But Turner said HUD “believes the city does not adequately understand what they need to do to make certain they don’t lose money in the future.”
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Whaley said Turner has chosen to send letters and press releases instead of actually trying to help.
“I think he’s just doing his politics,” she said.
The HOME program sends money to communities across the nation to help create, renovate and expand affordable housing. Some uses include rental assistance, housing rehabilitation, assistance to homebuyers, and new construction of housing.