$400,000 loan possible for Calexico Housing Authority

June 12, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — This city's Redevelopment Agency could loan the Calexico Housing Authority $400,000 so the authority can send $1.2 million to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee that the Housing Authority pledged on a 2000 tax credit application connected to the building of some senior apartments.

Then again, the RDA board might not.

If the RDA doesn't loan the Housing Authority $400,000 it might loan $200,000 instead and the authority's administrators would have to find $200,000, but the RDA won't do any of the above if City Attorney Michael Rood finds out the authority doesn't really need the money.

That was the motion the City Council passed unanimously Tuesday night while sitting as the city Redevelopment Agency board.

The City Council is also serving as the Housing Authority's board of commissioners, having recently removed the council-appointed board at the request of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Rood, who has said previously that the city is not legally required to loan the authority any money, said it again.

"It's a policy decision for you," he said.

Mayor John Renison called on the authority's interim director, Peter Castro, to update the RDA board.

"Did you open up a bag of gold and find some money for us?" Renison asked.

Castro said he was waiting to hear from HUD officials as to whether there was money available to pay off the $1.2 million commitment to the state tax credit allocation committee.

In 2000 the authority, and its for-profit partners, Beyond Shelter Housing Corp. of Los Angeles, turned in an application to the committee that said the authority would come up with $1.2 million to help it secure tax credits.

The committee said it will award the partners the more than $8 million in tax credits once the authority comes through on its end of the deal. Former authority administrators have said the authority has only $800,000 to give.

Mayor Pro Tem Frank Montoya wanted to know if the committee had given the authority an extension. Castro said the authority would get a 20-day extension if the city agrees to help pay off the $1.2 million.

Councilman Alex Perrone asked what HUD officials have said about all this. Castro said he'll know by the end of this week whether he will be allowed to tap into one of the authority's accounts for $200,000.

Councilman David Ouzan noted the council was sitting as the RDA board and the Housing Authority board and trying to figure out the problem.

"There is an issue of a conflict," he said.

Councilman Victor Carrillo said the senior apartments on the corner of Rancho Frontera Avenue and Highway 98 are ready to go and Calexico seniors are waiting to move in.

The way the tax credit system works is Beyond Shelter and the Housing Authority have to submit all financial documents to the allocation committee, including the $1.2 million from the authority, to get the tax credits. No one can move into the apartments until all of the paperwork is completed.

Carrillo said something needed to be done so seniors can move in. He made a motion to give the authority the $400,000 loan, contingent on Castro trying to find the $200,000. If he is successful the RDA board would only loan the authority $200,000.

Rood recommending adding one more condition to the motion. He wants to do a legal check to find out if the authority legally needs the $400,000.

Calexico resident Victor Rocha said, "Before you give the authority any public money you need to check out the financial status of the housing authority."

Former City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva said, "This brings back memories."

In 2000, while he was on the council, the RDA board rescinded the promise of a $400,000 loan to the authority after Grijalva said there were discrepancies in the applications that the developers submitted to the state and the city.

On Tuesday Grijalva said those discrepancies had yet to be addressed. He said the developers wanted the $400,000 to help their profit margin.

Housing consultant, Barry Garman of Alpine said there are funds the authority and its partners could have applied for to cover any shortfall.

Renison said, "That's what I was concerned about."

He said it is possible the $400,000 was just "padding" for the developers.

Rood said, for the second time, "Let me confirm there is a legal obligation for the amount."

With that the Carrillo's motion with amendments was approved unanimously.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles