Price of Grand Terrace senior complex goes up
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
ADDED NOTATIONS BY GRAMPS-are in BLUE
Article Launched: 10/02/2008 01:07:59 AM PDT
GRAND TERRACE - The first senior housing project is moving closer to reality, but the price tag is going up.
City Council last week approved spending an additional $740,000 in redevelopment funds to finish construction of the 120-unit housing complex known as the Blue Mountain Senior Villas.
The one- and two-bedroom apartments project for low- and middle-income seniors is being built on Grand Terrace Road just east of Mount Vernon Avenue.
Plans also call for a 7,000 square-foot senior center and a 2.5-acre park on the city-owned property.
It is expected to open in early 2009.
With the additional expense, the city's share of the nearly $22 million project will rise to about $9.6 million. The city's contribution will come from funds that can only be used for low- and moderate-income housing purposes.
The Corporation for Better Housing, the nonprofit developer of the project, will pay the rest.
Acting City Manager Steve Berry said the price of construction materials has gone up sharply since the project was budgeted originally several years ago. (A Reputable Contractor would know how to project the budget and costs of a Bid... OH... there was no Bidding on this Job)
The city also incurred legal expenses after the project was approved by the council in 2005.
A group of residents filed a lawsuit claiming the city did not properly address potential impacts such as traffic, noise and air pollution. (LEGAL ACTION only after the residents were disregarded by the City Council, Redevelopment Agency, and the Contractor. The City and the Contractor could have avoided the Legal Action and the Cost of the Legal Action if they had responded to the concerns of the Residents and Citizens of Grand Terrace.)
After the group won in court, the city completed an environmental impact report and made changes to the project to appease residents. The heights of the apartment complex and senior center were reduced from three stories to two.
The budget for the project also increased because water connection and service fees were included in the cost. Other expenses were for road improvements and upgraded furnishings and fixtures for the senior center and park. ( All Developers pay fees, and know what these fees will be and should be able to include them in their contracts. YES some of the GT Development Fees increased during the time of the Project. HOWEVER, this too could have been avoided by a competent Contractor by paying the FEES Prior to their Increase, knowing that the contract was a done deal. Failure to get the fees paid early should not be paid for by the City. Will they pay the Fees for anyone else?)
"I felt it was important that we move ahead," Mayor Maryetta Ferre said. "I felt it was an expenditure that needed to be made. This is for the public good. We're providing senior housing, we're providing a beautiful senior center, and we're providing a park."
Mayor Maryetta Ferre do you really think the Corporation for Better Housing would pack up their tools and leave the job. They have a 60 year lease to operate the Housing Development and collect rents and fees from the residents. They will get their money and use out of the Development. The Inclusion of the Center and Park were always part of the price tag and so there is no reason or justification for touting this as being a support for the increased price tag.
No writing the check or Bailing out Corporation for Better Housing is reward to a Bad Actor, by other Bad Actors the City Council and City Manager. Unfortunately the people paying for their actions will be the Citizens not the Members of the City Council and City Manager. Or is has the Mayor and City Manager offered to sell their homes to cover the additional costs?
Funds for the Development "Came Available to Grand Terrace" as a part of a Redevelopment Agency Requirement. The deal works like this. The RDA can get a DEBT at or DEVELOPMENT BOND at a discounted rate, but how that money is spent is regulated or assigned. OUR RDA has a DEBT Load of over 15,000,000,000. Yes that is 15 Million Dollars. The City Manager / RDA Director insists that this debt is not a Liability but an asset. Folks get a dictionary, DEBT is a LIABILITY to be repaid.
Well the fact is the City of Grand Terrace had used up all its funds EXCEPT for the required Low Income Housing Development Funds that were required. Facing Serious Penalty the City was forced to build Low Income Housing. Building a Senior Housing Project was the least offencive to this City Council/RDA. HOWEVER, the California Housing Authority has already stated that Grand Terrace can not only provide Low Income Housing opportunity's to Seniors Only, and be in compliance with the regulations of the RDA and Housing Requirements stipulated in the Grants and Bonds, and Funds used by the City thus Far.
SO, the selling of City Assets, and perhaps the Homes of the City Council and City Manager may offset some of the cost of having accepted Redevelopment Debt Based Funds in the First Place.
IS is Clear YET that an economy based on Debt is Good, is not an economy that will be sustainable for the long term. Have You had Enough YET Grand Terrace? By the way, Gramps now lives in a town that has NO Redevelopment AGENCY and ZERO DEBT. When Gramps Needs to have a chicken or two, or even a milk goat at his new little house, there is no code to prevent him from doing so. In addition, this town expects all homes to have a business of some sort and provides Wireless Internet connections and banking services to promote Internet Businesses in their community. Gramps is sorry to see GT be hurt, but unless you all restore GT to PRODUCE something more than retail sales, the future there is going to be difficult.
Increased Water Fees... at the same time the Water Company Moves into a New Facility with a Private Gym for the Board and Employees. IF the Water Company is a PUBLIC Company then the GYM should be PUBLIC and not just for EMPLOYEES and BOARD MEMBERS.
Perhaps they could have a GYM Club for GT Youth called The DRIPS... Body Building/ Weight Loss, and PLUMBING... OH MY!!!! How about a row a bikes attached to a shaft to turn the water pumps. Or some Giant Swings for a GT Swingers Club where the Swing action energy is used to pump water or generate power.