Council President Bridget Rivers (l.) addresses residents at the town meeting
Carlos Sanchez, the city's new economic development director, gave an audience of about 60 Liberty Village residents and others a detailed scenario of the situation leading up to the proposed sale of the 96-unit subsidized housing complex. The parties involved include HUD, the current owner, a management firm and a prospective buyer. The City Council's only role is to agree to amend and transfer a "payment in lieu of taxes" agreement to the new owner in order to effectuate the sale. Sanchez described all the improvements and amenities that will come with the sale, but said it must happen by May 7 or 9 when the Section 8 contract is due to expire.
Green came to the table frowning and as Sanchez said the new 20-year contract was needed "to assure your rents don't go up," Green blurted, "I ain't got all night to be here," demanding that Sanchez finish. He expressed displeasure that as "head of housing in the state," he was not called about the deal, although later he said he knew about it last year. He chided Sanchez for talking about a laundry and community room "when HUD is about to close them."
"I'm starting at Washington to find out whether they failed to negotiate," he said, telling the residents, "I asked Congressman Rush Holt to find out what rights you have."
Sanchez had previously given details of the proposed sale at council meetings on April 8 and April 15. On Monday, current owner Sam Perlman backed up the need for a decision in early May and the fact that the PILOT agreement is integral to the sale. The prospective owner was still observing a religious holiday as he was last week and did not attend Monday's meeting.
Although it was suggested that the council could schedule a special meeting to vote on the PILOT, Council President Bridget Rivers said, "I never said I would have a special meeting to get the PILOT signed."
(There was a lot more to this meeting, but I can't write any more right now. Look for more tomorrow. It was also taped for PCTV and two other bloggers were there.)