City Proposes Final Solution to Long Running Housing Inquiry
August 29, 2014
(West Palm Beach, FL) – In a letter sent today to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the City of West Palm Beach proposed a final solution to the long running inquiry into the use of HUD funding dating back over a decade.
Last year, a HUD audit identified approximately $1.5 million dollars in federal funds dating back as far as 2002 that the agency said needed to be paid back. The agency said there wasn’t clear enough paperwork showing how the dollars were spent.
In the letter sent today to the director of the Miami HUD field office, the city proposed deducting those dollars from future allocations that the city will receive from the Federal Government. The proposal was made after the City, going through records and files from over 10 years earlier, determined there wasn’t enough existing paperwork to satisfy HUD.
“The City of West Palm Beach has conducted extensive reviews….As a result, the City concluded there is insufficient information to satisfy all of the findings identified in the CDP controlled recommendations,” wrote the city in its letter.
City officials also wrote that paying back the money in one lump sum out of the city’s general fund would be impossible, given the current budget climate and tight spending following years of shrinking property values.
“In order to resolve findings of non-compliance…the City hereby formally requests a voluntary grant reduction for three (3) years in lieu of repayment in the amount of $1,460,277,” the letter proposed.
“We are hopeful HUD will consider our offer,” said Elliot Cohen, Director of Communications for the City of West Palm Beach. “After over a decade, we are looking for a solution that will satisfy everyone involved and create some final closure.”
Also today, the City sent to HUD the latest results of its inquiry into the specific findings of the HUD audit. The letter addresses point by point the findings of the earlier audit.