The URA board was obviously impressed with what they saw during a tour of the new homes on Pine, Florence and 11th streets Thursday, complimenting the design and quality construction.
After a presentation by Housing and Community Development Director
They could hardly do anything else. To cut off money for the extensive revitalization project until sometime next year would be a big negative for the city and the current homeowners who've taken advantage of what appear to be the biggest real estate bargains in town, according to financial information distributed at the meeting.
Where else could you buy a house with a total project cost of
Another example is a house on
In all, 24 houses have been built and 22 sold with 14 of the sales being subsidized. About
The project is cash- strapped because of up-front costs that outran the
TRANSPARENCY AT LAST: If you're concerned about possible waste, fraud and abuse in the redevelopment project, you can relax -- unless you think the whole thing is waste, fraud and abuse -- because Young, Ruben, Owens and Bryant won't miss a trick.
Young, a former U.S. Housing and Urban Development assistant deputy secretary for field policy and management in Washington, knows where to look and which questions to ask.
For example, during Thursday's meeting with Wheeler, his staff and consultants, Young, after reviewing project financial information, asked where the program income was listed. It wasn't.
Later during lunch, a consultant who hadn't known Young had worked at HUD said he thought the question was unusual because most people didn't ask about program income.
"You have to know where to look for program income," Young said. "But the cardinal rule for anybody trying to get to the bottom of something is 'Follow the money.' Not that there's anything sinister about the project, but there are high expectations. I guess it's up to us to see they're met."
THEY DO NOT SUFFER FOOLS GLADLY: If Ruben weren't a brilliant businesswoman and accountant, she couldn't have kept two businesses going on
Ruben said the revitalization is long overdue and "a giant step in the right direction to bring young families back to the city center."
"It was a nostalgic tour especially meaningful to me because so many of our customers from the past lived in the neighborhood," she said. "I recognized many of the addresses from layaway customers back in the '50s and '60s when my job as a kid at the store was to go to retrieve layaway items from the storage rooms!"
Owens sure shook things up when he was on the Richmond County Animal Control board and the Downtown Development Authority, so you can expect no less from him as a URA member.
Bryant is the chairwoman of the anti-taxation group CSRA Libertarians, and was student body president of Georgia Regents University's Summerville campus before graduating, so that ought to tell you something.
WHERE'S ISAAC, AND WHERE'S DONNIE FOR THAT MATTER? A fifth URA board member,
After Thursday's meeting, he showed up at Ruben's hotel, the
ANOTHER WEEKEND AT THE BEACH FOR INTENSE INSTRUCTION IN GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: In other news,
This time it's the Georgia Municipal Association's annual conference, which began Friday and ends Tuesday. So that's another
The tireless travelers say they learn so much at these conferences that they just have to keep on going. If that's so, why do they keep acting like they know it all already?
MARBLE PALACE INTRIGUE: Apparently, some commissioners have had second thoughts about moving Clerk of Commission Lena Bonner's offices from cramped quarters on the second floor of the
So expect a move to rescind the previous vote to relocate Bonner. It could come up at Thursday's meeting, when interim city Administrator
Changes to the renovation plans won't come cheap. Allen previously told commissioners that architect Virgo Gambill would charge
BUT SHE CERTAINLY PUT A GOOD FRONT (AND REAR): There's a lot of money to be made underwriting the city's
Avery said the city's current financial advisor,
City Procurement Director
"In my attempt to locate an address for your company, I also looked on the
Sams listed seven sites vendors could access to be included in the bid process.
"In order to assure fair and open competition, any unsolicited proposals or any information given at the
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