The Rockingham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners discussed how to allocate its funds for the new fiscal year at its monthly meeting on Wednesday.
Chereka Belton, executive director of the Rockingham Housing Authority, said she didn’t yet know the exact budget for the new fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, but that it is about $200,000.
In the new budget, funds have been set aside for improved security at the 224 public housing units in Rockingham. Belton, secretary of the board, said the equipment has become outdated, not having yet begun to use the capabilities afforded by the internet to remotely access the video feeds.
“Technology has changed over the years (so we need) better quality equipment, equipment that you can view via the internet so…you can access it from different places.” Belton said. “Our main goal would be something where the police department and sheriff’s department…can access it from their locations.”
She added that the equipment’s ability to see at night is especially limiting considering the technological advancements made in recent years.
Belton said that the board would also like to replace three maintenance vehicles that have been “beaten up” over the years and they’re “getting worse by the minute.” Currently, the housing authority has three maintenance vehicles
“They’re old, very old, they’re from the early 2000s and…it can be rough on a vehicle putting appliances on and taking them off,” Belton said. “They’re breaking down more and more so we need to do something.”
Commissioner Sandra Smith said that last month’s expense report contained “substantial” bills for maintenance. The housing authority has a total of seven vehicles, three of which are maintenance. One truck was totaled which hasn’t yet been replaced, and maintenance workers are currently driving a 15-passenger van which Belton said is “giving them problems.”
Belton wants maintenance to have a new utility van and two new pickup trucks with a trailer hitch and an electric lift for transporting appliances. She will present cost estimates for replacing the trucks at the board’s next meeting on Nov. 15.
The board voted to cancel its December meeting.
The meeting opened with a public hearing to update the community on changes made to the Housing Choice Administrative Plan by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The changes only applied to the Section 8 housing in the city.
Some of the changes included updating the definition of physical or mental impairment guidelines in approving residents and updating the definition of family to include “actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.” Belton said she considers the extensive list of changes to be “clarifications” rather than any drastic shift in the way the housing authority conducts business.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674.