Updated 

City still liable for nearly $500,000 in HUD funds


The City of Pine Bluff remains liable for the majority of the 14 findings made against it by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in a June 4 report referencing HUD’s annual monitoring review of the city’s community development block grant and HOME programs for the 2012 program year.

In a letter dated Nov. 1 to Larry Matthews, the director of the city Economic Development Department, Clinton E. Johnson, director of the Office of Community Planning and Development in the HUD Little Rock Field Office, informed the city that it remains liable for the bulk of the more than $479,000 listed in the June 4 report as owed back to HUD because of mismanagement of federal funds by the city. The city has been cleared of three of HUD’s initial findings.

“The letter to Mr. Matthews is saying that the city has provided what HUD needs for three of the findings and clears the city of any liability on those three,” Patricia Campbell, regional public affairs officer for HUD, said Tuesday afternoon. “The letter is also stating that the city was not cleared of the remaining 11 findings and is giving the city 30 days from Nov. 1 to provide HUD with a reimbursement payment plan.”

Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth and Matthews both asked Tuesday for a day to review the HUD report before making any comments.

HUD cleared the city of “Finding No. 6” which alleged that the city did not have adequate procedures to ensure that record-keeping requirements are met in accordance with federal regulations.

“In its response the city noted that it has implemented procedures to review files prior to project closeout to ensure that all documents are in place,” the Nov. 1 letter said. “Based on the information provided by the city and the corrective actions that it has taken since HUD’s monitoring review, Finding No. 6 is herein cleared.”

HUD also cleared the city of “Finding No. 7,” which alleged that the city did not have a written policies and procedures manual for management of the Homebuyer Assistance Program, including income qualification; lead-based paint notices and written agreements.

“The city has located and updated an electronic version of its Homebuyer Assistance Program Policies and Procedures to satisfy the corrective actions associated with Finding No. 7,” the Nov. 1 letter said. “Based on the information provided by the city and the corrective actions it has taken since HUD’s monitoring review, Finding No. 7 has been cleared.”

HUD also cleared the City of “Finding No. 8” which alleged that it did not disburse program income to pay program costs before making cash withdrawals from the U. S. Treasury as required by federal regulations.

The city now receipts program income on a monthly basis.

The city remains liable under Finding No. 1 for not following the guidelines for assessing the eligibility of its 716 Georgia Street facility and is asked to repay HUD $28,779 from non-Federal funds.

The city requested that HUD consider its operation of HUD’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program during 2009 as a new public service in order to forgo the payment of the $28,779 charged to public service during 2009 and 2010.

HUD ruled that the request is inconsistent with its regulations.

The city remains liable under Finding No. 2 for not following the guidelines for maintaining the eligibility of its 1101 Main Street building acquisition as required by federal regulations and is asked to repay HUD the greater of $50,110 in expenditures for acquisition of the building or the revenue received from the subsequent sale of the building.

HUD accepted the proposal made by the city of Pine Bluff under “Finding No. 3” which alleged that the city did not maintain sufficient records to substantiate its subgrant of $150,000 to CASA Women’s Shelter as required by law.

The city proposed to repay the $150,000 from non-federal sources during 2014, and was asked to provide a repayment schedule within 30 days. This finding will be cleared once the money is repaid.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 4” for not investing the minimum of $1,000 in several HOME projects as required by federal regulations.

The city reconciled three of 12 projects to the satisfaction of HUD but must either provide documentation of the other projects or include any unresolved activities in its repayment schedule within 30 days.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 5” for not having a system to ensure that related soft costs for project delivery that represents staff and overhead costs are directly related to carrying out the projects as required by federal regulations.

The city must charge project delivery costs to HOME administration and repay project delivery expenditures that exceed HOME administration limits during 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The city must include repayment of appropriate project delivery costs in its repayment schedule which must be submitted within 30 days.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 9” for not providing supporting documentation for a voucher during HUD’s on-site monitoring review as required by federal regulations.

The city must add the $1,500 cost of the voucher to its repayment list within 30 days.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 10” for not adequately distributing the time worked by its employees who receive compensation from Community Development Block Grants and HOME grants, and other cost objectives, with time-distributed payroll records as required by federal regulations.

HUD said that while the city noted that it has instituted revised time-sheets, no actual time-sheets were provided to document their use.

The city has 30 days to provide the required documentation.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 11” for not adhering to federal guidelines that require the expenditure of not more than 20 percent of its grant allocation and program income each year for administrative costs.

HUD denied the city’s request to classify some of the excess expenditures and is asking the city to provide a repayment schedule for $121,019 within 30 days.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 12” for approving and expending funds for an activity that was inconsistent with the city’s rehabilitation policies, regulations and procedures.

HUD asked the city in its June 4 report to have the contractor redo a roof replacement at 2500 S. Georgia St. or complete the $7,000 roof replacement at its own expense and provide the status of the project to HUD within 30 days.

The city replied that after the contractor refused to redo the work, the city affirmed that it would make the necessary repairs to the roof with funds not related to the CDBG or HOME within 45 to 60 days.

HUD is requiring the city to supply it with verifiable documentation that the work has been done to acceptable standards.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 13” for not conducting all procurement in a manner that provided full and open competition as required by Federal regulations.

HUD found that the city spent $83,424 in HOME funds on a residence at 1201 Persimmon without competitive bidding, citing a lack of bidders on the project and the existence of any emergency situation due to the health of a minor living there.

HUD found that the city owes the $83,424 and must provide a repayment schedule within 30 days.

The city remains liable under “Finding No. 14” for acquiring properties for future development with HOME funds in a manner inconsistent with federal regulations.

HUD found that the city must repay a total of $45,738 used to purchase three properties and provide a repayment plan within 30 days.