JMHA hears audit report

STEUBENVILLE – The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority board of commissioners will be asked to consider a contract at the February meeting to proceed with $5.8 million in energy improvements at all JMHA-owned properties.

The board heard a update Wednesday afternoon from Andrew Why of the Tenth Avenue Group of Aliquippa, Pa., on plans to pursue energy efficient furnaces and boilers, lighting and windows that will save the housing authority money in the future.

“I ask all board members to be at the Feb. 27 meeting to consider a resolution for us to pursue these recommended energy efficient changes and to seek $5.8 million in bank financing to fund the projects. This would be a loan that would be paid back over a 15-year period from the savings realized by the energy efficiencies,” explained Why.

“We are looking at savings in lighting, water leaks, putting in new windows at six different sites, new hot water heaters, an energy recovery system, new furnaces and heat pumps in some locations, as well as some new refrigerators and insulation,” said Why.

Why said his company submitted the energy audit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Cleveland field office, “who passed our proposal. The proposal was forwarded to the Buffalo regional office and we are waiting to hear back from them. We expect to have their approval and a financing plan in place by the Feb. 27 meeting,” said Why.

In other business Wednesday, the board approved an easement request from Horizon Telecom to place a conduit containing fiber optic cable approximately 42 inches below the ground at the Schlernitzauer Apartment public housing complex in Yorkville.

Board Chairman Les Zapor said he had concerns about the easement but agreed,”because it will benefit the village in the long run.”

JMHA Executive Director Joe Costantini said he didn’t think the fiber optic cable would create a problem for the public housing apartments.

Costantini told the board final detail work is under way at the Washington Square Apartment building.

“We had anticipated a final closing by the end of the year but that is now delayed. There is minimal work left to be completed,” said Costantini.

Costantini said the 2013 public housing authority operating plan was approved by the HUD Cleveland field office.

“And we are at the 92.5 percent occupancy rate, which is an improvement,” noted Costantini.

The board met in executive session following their public meeting to discuss “personnel and security.”