Council deadlocked on repair reimbursements for senior apartments

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Residents at Leo Paluch senior apartments may not get new windows paid for by city-controlled block grant funds.

Councilors were deadlocked 3-3 Tuesday in a measure to reallocate $40,000 from the $110,000 in housing rehab funds to the 61-unit senior housing complex to reimburse a portion of the $79,000 it spent in roof repairs and replace faulty windows. They must revote on the issue at Tuesday’s meeting.

Councilors Angelo DeGiulio, Dennis Hayes and Harry Sisko dissented in the measure to replace the eight-year-old windows, which were installed with faulty lentils and have exceeded their warranty. Councilman Larry Templin, recovering from a kidney transplant, was absent from the meeting.

Many councilors thought the funds could be better used for housing rehab, available for residents of low or moderate income, and the city could benefit from the funds returned to them after the houses were sold. There are 21 residents on the waiting list for the rehab program.

Hayes said the repairs could be handled by the complex’s maintenance department.

“To replace windows every time we don’t like the way they fade in the sun, or they are a little bit loose, there’s way to
repair things like this,” Hayes said. “I would be unconvinced of the bona fides of this project until I saw for certain there was not a sufficient number of homeowners with metal windows, with wooden windows, with rattling windows, that are in much worse condition than these.”

But Housing Commission Director Andy Hill disagreed, saying the commission spent the money for the repairs to the roof and budgeted for the windows after the previous council allocated them $89,000 in block grant funds for the 2011-12 year.

The funding paperwork was delayed and the commission did the repairs on an emergency basis, after which Wayne County moved the money earmarked for Paluch back into the city’s rehab fund.

“We took it on your authority of your approval that those moneys were going to be available before we spent them,” Hill said.

The 61-unit subsidized housing complex has not asked for block grant funds in its 42 years, Hill said.

Councilwoman Tina Gaworecki said that Pauluch residents should have the same opportunities to benefit from block grant funds, which must be used to benefit seniors.

“There’s 63 residents there that are deservant of the same type of lifestyle that someone does have in their home,” she said.