By Ryan Clark
Last December, the city used funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to create “buckets” or categories where the funding would be best used.
Now those buckets are filling up.
The latest is the ARPA-funded Mortgage Assistance Program plan, which calls for the use of $500,000 to help potential buyers reduce mortgage interest rates or pay the down payment and fees. closing prices associated with the purchase of owner-occupied or vacant homes in qualifying housing. Census tracts or QCT.
ARPA funds have always been allocated to help homebuyers — now city workers think they’ve found a good way to help. If approved, ARPA Mortgage Assistance would be a grant of up to $15,000 to help families buy a home, with a spending cap of $350,000.
City officials told the Covington Commission meeting this week that the program would be run the same way as the HOME down payment assistance and CDBG home repair programs. The goal is to increase the number of homeowners in QCTs, which are defined as census tracts in the city where 51% of the population earns 65% or less of the region’s median income.
Depending on the city, qualifications include:
• Revenue: There is no income limit for owners who participate in the program.
• Credit: There is no credit score requirement for the program. Borrowers’ credit will be reviewed by their lender in order to obtain mortgage financing.
• Loan subscription: The program has no special loan underwriting requirements. The City will review the terms of the borrower’s mortgage financing to ensure that the loan is not predatory in nature. Interest rates and mortgage fees will be reviewed and compared to current industry standards.
Interested buyers can then apply online here: https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/COVINGTONKY/participant
Mayor Joseph U. Meyer wondered if $15,000 was enough, given today’s high costs.
“We looked at that, I mean there’s no magic number for that because obviously it’s based on purchase price,” said Jeremy Wallace, community development manager. “But most lenders, especially if you’re buying in those areas, should have a 3% or 5% down payment product, so if we’re basing it on an average sale price of – whatever – $100,000 at $350,000, should be able to redeem the rate by a few points. A point represents 1% of the purchase price of the loan amount, so you can buy the rate down a few points, which will lower the rate perhaps by a whole interest rate. We will try to maximize the drop in this rate as much as possible, but if we can buy a few points less and the rest can then be used for down payment and closing costs, that should be enough to get into these price ranges .
The proposal was placed on the agenda for approval at the next meeting.
Heritage Trades Program
Commissioners were asked to approve a sub-recipient agreement with the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky for tuition and expenses, and building stabilization expenses, associated with 1515 Madison Ave. – which will be used as a working laboratory for the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades.
Previously, the city set aside $250,000 of ARPA funds to support the development of the new Covington Academy of Heritage Trades. As a sub-recipient, the Northern Kentucky Building Industry will deploy funds to stabilize the building and cover tuition and supplies for Covington residents who enroll in the workforce training program. ‘work.
The Commissioners put this request on the agenda for the next meeting.
Commissioners heard a request for $69,500 for a contract with Emersion Design LLC to provide a design for the Covington Walkway at the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.
In 2019, the city’s economic development department hired Garner Economics to complete a strategic plan, and one of the recommendations was to improve walkways to the city, which would include new signage initiatives, landscaping and embellishment.
The city then sought community input, in part to decide which gates were most important. Two stood out from the rest – and the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge was one.
Emersion Design’s submission was chosen as the winning submission. The design process will be completed within four months and 50% of the funding will come from the General Fund and the Economic Development Fund.
The commissioners placed the request on consent for the next meeting.
Changed text for kennels
Commissioners heard a proposal to amend the Neighborhood Development Code to add kennels as a conditional use to Limited Industrial Districts.
The Neighborhood Development Code’s Limited Industrial District (LI) was developed for “low to moderate impact warehousing, wholesale, and manufacturing uses,” city documents say. “This neighborhood covers many areas adjacent to the railway in Covington. The recommended text change would allow kennel uses that receive a conditional use permit to operate in this district as they are suitable for the large format buildings associated with this district.
The commissioners put the request on the agenda for the next meeting.
Port Authority Camera Grant
The Covington Police Department has been approved to receive a $157,180 grant from the US Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program. But it will require matching from the city ($52,393), which is a budgeted expense.
The funds will be used to expand the Riverfront Commons camera program west, “from Madison Landing to just east of the existing Brent Spence Bridge,” city plans say. “This will add 18 additional cameras along Covington’s Riverfront Commons hiking and biking trail.”
The request was placed on the agenda for approval at the next meeting.
iPad Technology Pilot Program
Commissioners heard a proposal to approve ARPA funds to be used in a contract with the Covington Independent Public School District to carry out a pilot program with JE
The Biggs families who “introduce and measure the impact of city-provided iPads and early literacy apps on participating children’s kindergarten readiness,” the city documents state.
The program will use $73,334 for Read Ready Covington’s “iPad Technology Pilot Program,” which the Covington Independent Public School District will use for three consecutive school years. The project will monitor the impact that city-provided iPads and early literacy apps have on two classes of 4-year-olds and their families at JE Biggs Preschool.
The school district will provide technical and instructional support, and the program will begin immediately after the technology arrives.
The Commissioners put the proposal on the agenda for the next meeting.
The commissioners heard the proposal for the promotion of:
• James Johnson, Stormwater Maintenance Worker
Commissioners heard the proposed hiring of:
• Joseph Meimann, Code Enforcement Manager
• Allyson Schaeffer, Code Enforcement Inspector
• Hillary Williams, Recreation Program Coordinator
The commissioners heard the resignation proposals of:
• Angela Umbarger, tax auditor
• Devyn Harris, Constable
The commissioners heard the proposals for the renewal of the mandates of:
• Pamela Mullins, Human Rights Commission
• Omar Gray, Code Enforcement Hearing Panel
• Rebecca Weber, Architecture Review and Development Board
• Matthew Roetting, Audit Committee
And the nominations of:
• Sheree Weichold, Alcoholic Beverage Control Administrator
• Kathleen Summe, Linden Grove Cemetery Board of Trustees
No meeting next week
There will be no meeting next week due to election day.
The next regular meeting of the Covington Commission will be a legislative meeting to be held at 6 p.m., November 15, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. The meetings can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline and TBNK Roku channels.