Mission approves Affordable Housing Permit Waiver program

City council approved ordinance #4736 establishing an affordable housing permit waiver program, and also authorized a waiver of city building permit fees and water meter costs.

Community Development Coordinator Jo Anne Longoria presented the item to the council, mayor and acting city manager at this week’s regular called meeting at city hall. According to her, there are guidelines for those wishing to utilize the program.

City of Mission logo“The city of Mission is determined to provide development incentives to non-profit organizations whose mission is to provide more options for affordable housing, alleviate and improve the living conditions of low-income residents, and further improve surrounding economic development,” said Longoria, adding that qualifying applicants can waive fees for residential building permits, plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits and water meter fees.

Organizations seeking a waiver must “be a non-profit in good standing, the purpose of the non-profit must include improving substandard housing conditions and the organization must have guidelines for participation that comply with federal income guidelines.”

Mayor Armando O’caña told Longoria to already expect someone at her office the next day.

“We’re bringing affordable housing to Mission,” O’caña said.

Purchasing Director Eduardo Belmarez presented an item that would allow the acting city manager to give a letter of intent to enter the city into an Investment Grade Audit with Performance Services, Inc (PSI).

“Following completion of the IGA, and submission of a project proposal from PSI which meets the project objectives, the owner will agree to enter into an installation contract via the Interlocal Purchasing System Contract No. 170103 for PSI to provide the owner with equipment, installation construction management, financing, a savings guarantee and measurement verification services,” Belmarez said.

Even if the city decides not to enter into the installation contract, Mission has agreed to pay $85,371 to PSI, the value of their anticipated engineering costs and costs associated with developing this investment grade audit. Blemarez said the audit would be of existing services, infrastructure the city has in place, all in an effort to improve the performance of the city’s water meters and “potentially do some cost savings of water use and electricity.”

After council members Jessica Ortega-Ochoa and Gus Martinez made motions to pass the item, Mayor Pro-Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza and council member Ruben Plata had a few questions regarding the audit.

Plata asked why the city isn’t looking at other companies that can provide these particular services.

“Why are we not going out for qualifications?” Plata said. “I do not like the fact that we are committed to pay $85,371 regardless. For something like that, would you not want to go out [to other companies] for qualifications?”

Gonzalez Garza said she also had an issue with the company charging the city for a bid to do these services.

“Personally, I’ve never heard of anybody charging me for giving me a proposal,” Gonzalez Garza said. “Basically, this letter of intent is a contract and it is an agreement and is a commitment by the city of Mission to either go with them or pay the $85,000, and for the $85,000 we’d pay them, we’d be getting no services. So I’m not in agreement.”

The mayor asked legal to state why the letter of intent would be legal for Mission, but Gonzalez Garza said she wasn’t questioning the legality, just the notion that the city would still have to pay $85,371 whether they utilize PSI services or not.

“If you go out for qualifications, and you select the company, that company is going to do the audit that you selected them to do and there is still going to be a charge for the services because of what they’ve done with the audit,” Martinez said. “It’s not like this company solely is the one that’s saying ‘if you don’t take us, you pay us this,’ the other companies are going to come in, do the same audit and still need to be paid whatever they expended if you do not choose to move forward.”

Plata said again that if they went out for qualifications, the city may be able to find a company that would charge less than $85,371.

The item was passed. Martinez, Ortega-Ochoa and Martinez voted in favor of the item, and Plata and Gonzalez Garza voted against it.

The city recognized the Veterans Memorial High School football and volleyball teams for their success in this year’s competitions. The volleyball team has advanced to the regional quarterfinals after their fourth straight undefeated season, and the football team have advanced to the regional semi-finals after winning the district and area championships.

Both teams, led by Coach Diana Lerma (volleyball) and Coach David Gilpin (football), were honored at the meeting.

The Dec. 24th city council meeting that was scheduled was cancelled due to the holidays, and the Dec. 10th meeting was rescheduled for Mon., Dec. 17th. Mission will have one regularly called city council meeting in December.

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