Housing Authority contracts will aid in rehabilitation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012



LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Housing Authority Board of Commissioners on Monday awarded three contracts for services that, according to board members, will help the agency move forward on physical and financial needs.

The board unanimously approved a contract with Eliza Eugene Enterprises and Meyer Engineers for architectural and engineering design services related to a recent physical needs assessment conducted on the four public housing developments in the parish.

Housing Authority Executive Director Trina Henderson said the contract will help the agency develop a timeline for making the necessary improvements detailed in the assessment. She said the Housing Authority is still negotiating terms of the contract.

“We are trying to get these developments back to what they were before the years of neglect,” Henderson said. “We are working on a five-year plan to identify the most pressing needs, many of which deal with the safety of residents.”

The needs assessment, which was released earlier this year, showed the four developments will need more than $9 million worth of work to bring them up to the current standard of living. Henderson said the contract with Eliza Eugene Enterprises and Meyer Engineers will help the agency work within its budget.

The board also approved a $37,500 contract with Yeager and Boyd Certified Public Accountants for professional auditing services for the Housing Authority. Henderson said the Birmingham, Ala., firm will assist the agency with its 2011 and 2012 audits.

“The group came highly recommended from other housing authorities they have worked with,” she said.

Finally, the board approved a $3,750 contract with Housing Authority Procurement Assistance Specialist Mike Gifford to provide purchasing and procurement consulting to Housing Authority employees. Henderson said the agency engages in a lot of purchasing, and previous audits focused on how the agency was procuring materials and services.

“This is something valuable for our entire staff as well as commission members,” Henderson said.

Commissioner Iona Holloway said the Housing Authority had been told by the state Department of Housing and Urban Development that much of the agency’s problems stemmed from the procurement policy.

“It is something that needs to be revamped if we are to continue to move forward,” Holloway said.

The Housing Board had also intended to approve a resolution for a $50 stipend for resident commissioners for attendance at board meetings, but the item was removed from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Holloway said the Housing Authority was told by HUD they needed to determine a funding source for the stipend before it can be approved.