By John Anderson
The Auburn Housing Authority met for their final 2013 meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The biggest agenda item was the Fiscal 2014 budget that got unanimous approval from the board. The operating budget of $1,021,168 will now be submitted to State and Federal authorities for review and approval. When paired against an anticipated income of $1,032,424, the Authority would see a positive income of $11,256. That is if nothing big goes wrong.
FY13 wasn’t a lucky year for the AHA. Major capital projects such as the installation of generators at Stoneville Heights and Pakachoag Village as well as unanticipated expenses left the Authority with a $35,907 loss. While this is drawn from reserves on the affected properties, nobody wants a red number at the end of the year.
One of the unexpected expenses came when the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health inspected AHA’s group home Auburn Heights at 14 Maple Dr. DMH mandated renovations to both kitchens on the property, and AHA complied. Executive Director Lori Brennan said evidence of rodent damage was found during demolition, and structural wiring was compromised. As a result, wiring had to be completely replaced and the kitchens were brought up to ADA compliance. The building was built in 1995.
In FY14, Ms. Brennan said that capital improvements would include continued window replacements at several locations and new roofs for Stoneville Heights. The Auburn Housing Authority accomplishes a lot with a very small staff. There are 3 full-time and 1 part-time employees assigned to maintenance. In addition to full-time Executive Director Brennan, three 30 hour per week office employees take on the administrative tasks. The Authority manages five properties in Auburn with well over 150 residents.
Director Brennan also informed the board that multiple smoking complaints had been received from residents. For independent review, the Auburn Board of Health has been notified and will be investigating. Since residents sign a no-smoking commitment, they can be fined for additional complaints if the BOH verifies non-compliance.