Public housing

Federal agency accuses town of Albemarle Public Housing of mismanagement, urges agency to part ways with town

ALBEMARLE, NC (WBTV) – A compliance review by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Greensboro Field Office finds the city of Albemarle’s public housing agency is poorly managed and indicates that the local agency should separate from the city.

The nine-page report includes a number of findings which the federal agency says show that “the internal control system of the City of Albemarle Department of Public Housing (ADPH) is failing.”

In a proposed response, the mayor of Albemarle says the report is flawed and that HUD does not understand the “founding structure” of the city department.

Among specific examples in full reportinspectors say ADPH spent $9,204 to purchase a bed bug machine when “according to PHA staff, none of its employees are certified to operate the bed bug machine. , CARES Act expense documents revealed that ADPH recently outsourced bed bug eradication services at a cost of $6,000.

In a proposed response, the mayor of Albemarle says the report is flawed and that HUD does not understand the “founding structure” of the city department.

In another case cited, aluminum fencing worth $28,200 and galvanized chains and posts worth $7,391 were purchased, only to be removed because “they do not meet commercial residence, and chains and galvanized posts will be removed because REAC considers chains and posts to be a tripping hazard.

The report concluded by calling on the local office to part ways with the city, saying, “We strongly encourage ADPH to consider the benefits of parting ways with the city or to ensure proper oversight and use of federal dollars.”

At the Albemarle City Council meeting on Monday, members plan to present and discuss a response to HUD’s compliance report. If approved, the response will be delivered to the HUD Greensboro office.

“While we appreciate the opportunity to receive substantive and constructive feedback on the operations of ADPH, the City believes your office has a fundamental misunderstanding of the founding structure of our public housing department. of the City that because the review was based on this misunderstanding, some of the findings and observations detailed in your report are included in error We recognize that there is always an opportunity to refine the process and have carefully considered all applicable suggestions and guidelines you provided in your review,” Albemarle Mayor Ronnie Michael wrote in the proposed response.

In the Response, the City provides a point-by-point response to each of the findings in the HUD Compliance Report, adding that “ADPH manages its resources appropriately and refutes allegations that it has engaged in irresponsible spending.” . Items purchased for ADPH have been determined as eligible and necessary expenses.

“ADPH manages its resources appropriately and refutes claims that it has engaged in irresponsible spending. Items purchased for ADPH have been determined as allowable and necessary expenses,” the City responded.

FULL: City response

The response also highlights what the town benefits are that exist for the agency by being part of the town of Albemarle.

“If the ADPH were a stand-alone public housing authority, it certainly wouldn’t have a budget to cover the cost of IT staff or third-party services,” the mayor said. “The average cost of hiring an IT professional ranges between $45,000 and $60,000 per year. For reference, the initial operating budget for the Information Systems Department was $1,102,080 for FY2022. ADPH paid $55,104 to the Information Systems Department, which is nominal given the level of service and expertise that the ADPH receives in exchange.

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