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Housing Authority prepares plan for 2006 budget

When it comes to spending money the Sunnyside Housing Authority has to be thinking ahead.

Every year the Sunnyside Housing Authority prepares an annual plan for its public housing system, and the agency just completed its 2006 plan. The plan includes a budget of how it plans to spend funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sunnyside Housing Authority Executive Director Ketha Kimbrough explained that the local housing agency is forced to plan ahead when it comes to spending HUD funds because of the way the federal fiscal year is scheduled. She explained that the federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. However, since funding can be slim when it comes to housing services, the Sunnyside Housing Authority won't be notified if it is receiving federal funds until nearly the end of the fiscal year, which won't be until late 2006.

She explained that in the 2005 annual plan, the Sunnyside Housing Authority requested funds to complete a number of updates to its facilities. She said after submitting the plan to HUD on Oct. 1, 2004, she just heard in August that the local housing authority will be receiving $217,242 to take care of those 2005 requests.

The 2005 requests include updating wiring in some of the agency's oldest units, which were first occupied in 1974, making improvements to the housing authority's community building, expanding the maintenance shop and improving ventilation in some of the agency's family units.

Although funds have been allocated for the 2005 updates, Kimbrough said she is unsure when work will start on any of the projects because it's dependent on whether or not HUD will have to perform environmental reviews for any of the projects.

The 2006 budget includes $214,740 in additional updates to the Housing Authority's various housing units.

Kimbrough noted that the 2006 annual plan includes $134,500 to add a covered barbecue area to the agency's community building. She noted that there is little covered outdoor space around the facility and she'd like to see the building utilized more.

"We just want to make it more friendly," Kimbrough said.

Another budget item in the plan calls for the replacement of signage at six of the Housing Authority's locations. Kimbrough explained that the signs would be placed at four of the agency's family housing units. The plan calls for $11,025 to be spent on the new signs.

Kimbrough said another quality of life issue she would like the Housing Authority to take on is the replacement of screen walls at the agency's housing units at 1500 and 1520 S. Sixth St. She explained that at these units there is a carport located directly in front of the homes front doors. The screen wall separates the carport from the front door. She said the units currently have deteriorating wooden screens, and she'd like to see them replaced with vinyl screens. The cost of the screens is set at $27,920.

The final two budget items requested in 2006 include updates at the Housing Authority's senior units. Kimbrough said she would like to update the wiring in the buildings, which is estimated to cost $37,555. She would also like to see the parking lot around the units receive a seal coat and have the parking stripes re-painted, which is estimated to cost $3,740.

Kimbrough said if the budgeted items are approved the Sunnyside Housing Authority will receive the funding sometime late next year.

A meeting to discuss the Sunnyside Housing Authority's annual plan is set to take place on Friday, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m. at the Paradise Court Community Building at 1500 Federal Way.

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