Section 8 housing back in Moffat County

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In other action

At its Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 2-0, warrant resolutions totaling $398,624.04.

• Approved, 2-0, a resolution for the establishment of various fees and rates for 2010.

• Approved, 2-0, an electronic benefits transfer and payroll for the Social Services department.

• Approved, 2-0, a bid recommendation to purchase strand cables for the Swinging Bridge from WireCo World Group totaling $29,710.

• Approved, 2-0, a bid to purchase cattle guard iron from Craig Steel in the amount of $14,124.

• Approved, 2-0, to waive the bid process for the engineering of the swinging bridge project and award the contract for the design and erection consultation process to Diversified Consulting Solutions.

• Approved, 2-0, to waive the bid process and award Honnen Equipment with a contract for rent of a hydraulic breaker.

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner was absent.

After nearly 18 months of out-of-town management, the Section 8 housing vouchers are back under Moffat County supervision.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission voted, 2-0, to approve a contract with the Moffat County Housing Authority to oversee the administration of the housing vouchers. Commissioner Audrey Danner was absent from the meeting.

Section 8 housing vouchers provide “financial assistance for rental housing and home ownership for very low-income households,” according to the housing authority contract.

Successful applicants are provided with a percentage of their rent based on several factors including the income of the applicant and the size of the household.

The Grand Junction Housing Authority had been managing Moffat County’s 72 vouchers and Rio Blanco County’s nine vouchers since fall 2008, when the MCHA ended its contract with the Independent Life Center of Craig.

The MCHA now controls all 81 vouchers for Moffat and Rio Blanco Counties.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray was pleased to be able to bring the program back to the county.

“It’s important to administer the program here in Moffat County,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense to administer it long distance.”

Gray said the program is important to the community as well.

“Everyone needs a hand up once in a while when you’re down,” he said.

Moffat County originally entered into an agreement with the GJHA, which pledged to not administer the vouchers to Grand Junction residents until mid-summer 2010 even though they could once the GJHA received those vouchers.

Gray said his “hat goes off” to GJHA for managing local vouchers and working with Moffat County to re-implement the program.

The Grand Junction “representative spent a lot of time up here explaining how to administer the vouchers, how to conduct the inspections, how to train our people and so on,” he said. “We didn’t want those vouchers to go elsewhere.”

As part of the contract, the housing authority will hire a part-time employee to administer the vouchers.

The employee’s salary would come from the $34,000 a year in revenue from voucher fees paid by the state if all 81 vouchers were fully leased. For each voucher administered, the county receives $35 per month from the state to offset administration costs.

Gray said the program would be of no cost to the county.

Ute Murray, MCHA director, said she is proud and excited to have the program back.

“I think it’s very important for Moffat County to have the vouchers back and keep them here because we would have lost those vouchers,” she said. “Everyone in Moffat County wanted to take it over, but we needed to figure out how.”

Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or briansmith@craigdailypress.com.

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