LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority agreed Wednesday to defer its plans to set up its own offices and hire staff to oversee a home-ownership assistance program administered by Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The Financing Authority funds a first-time home buyer program, which provides low-interest loans to help pay closing costs or down payments, and also funds other public initiatives.
The city-parish government’s Community Development Department has administered the program through a cooperative endeavor agreement. That agreement may soon end due to the department’s concern about staff paid by federal Community Block Development Grant funding working with the LPTFA program.
The Community Development Department works with federal programs that target low- to moderate-income families and individuals, and eligibility requirements for the Financing Authority housing program have changed over the years, said Patricia Leyendecker, interim director of the department.
The department is funded with federal Community Block Development Grant money, Leyendecker said, so “We need to make sure that every program is providing a benefit to low- and moderate-income people.”
The median income in Lafayette Parish is $61,200. A family of four is generally considered “low income” if it makes less than 50 percent of the median income, which would be $30,600, Leyendecker said.
The moderate-income level for a family of four would be $48,950 under the guidelines, while “very low income” for a family of four would be $18,350, she said.
The eligibility requirement for the Financing Authority’s housing program is $72,480 for a family of two or less and $84,560 for a family of three or more, according to the public trust’s website.
The Financing Authority was slated to make a decision on dissolving its agreement with the city-parish government on administering the program at its meeting Wednesday.
It deferred the issue at the request of the city-parish’s chief administrative officer, Dee Stanley, said John Arceneaux, chairman of the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority, after the meeting.
The Financing Authority also was scheduled to adopt an administration plan to set up a central office and staff to provide support for its programs and projects, but that issue also was deferred.
Some Lafayette City-Parish Council members requested more information about the proposed change, Stanley said.
The City-Parish Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in a special meeting to discuss the home buyers program and to address the council members’ questions about the public trust’s functions and funding, according to the Tuesday meeting agenda.
The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority ’s volunteer board of five trustees typically meets in a conference room in the city-parish government building; its records are kept at the office of its attorney, Richard Becker.
A central office will enable the board to better monitor its programs and expand its outreach in the community, according to the administration plan submitted with the meeting agenda.
A building owned by the public trust could be renovated for the central office for about $250,000, according to the administration’s plan.
The building is one of several properties acquired by the public trust earlier this year from the Acadiana Outreach Center and is near the public trust’s housing developments, Joie de Vivre and the Studios at LWG.
To set up the office and staff it with a program services coordinator to oversee the home buyer’s program and the public trust’s other projects, accounting services and part-time or full-time administrative staff is estimated to cost $153,120 annually, according to the administration plan.
The public trust’s projected revenue for this year is $1.53 million related to fees charged developers and investment income for its housing developments.
Revenue is projected at $1.52 million in 2013 and $803,000 in 2014, according to the administration plan.
The future development of other properties acquired from Acadiana Outreach Center downtown will be discussed next month in public meetings with Architects Southwest, Arceneaux said.
The meetings will be held July 16-20 at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center, just a few blocks from the properties, but the times have not been set, Arceneaux said.