Lebanon County OKs housing funds for city of Lebanon

Written by Les Stewart, Lebanon Daily News | Jul 7, 2015 6:00 PM

(Lebanon) -- The Lebanon County commissioners agreed Thursday to provide the city of Lebanon $250,000 in Affordable Housing funds for ongoing assistance to the city's first-time homebuyer and homeowner rehabilitation programs.

The funds help to increase the percentage of home ownership in the city, said Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello.

The city currently is close to a 60 to 40 percent split between renters and homeowners, the mayor said.

"We need to flip that number," Capello said.

The county will be repaid when the homeowners eventually sell their homes.

"The funding is extremely important to help get us closer to the number where we need to be where we think will improve the quality of life in Lebanon," the mayor said.

The city also currently has $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for housing, Capello said.

The city currently has seven homebuyers who should close by the end of July, requiring an estimated $125,000, and one home rehabilitation project that will need an estimated $20,000, the mayor said in a letter to the commissioners earlier this week.

The county has helped the city in previous years. In 2004, the commissioners approved $175,000 in affordable housing funds, and the city spent $172,000. Two years later, the county provided $100,000, and the city spent that amount for the housing program.

Six years ago, the county provided $250,000 to the city for its program, with the city spending $77,159, Capello said. The city spent money from other sources for that year, she said.

In other business, the commissioners gave approval to the Lebanon County Redevelopment Authority to submit another application for disaster relief funding for properties damaged by tropical storms Lee and Irene in 2011.

In August 2013, the county sought $2.65 million in Community Development Block Grant for 20 properties, but that application was not approved, said Elizabeth Bowman, executive director of the redevelopment authority.

The commissioners also accepted the resignation of Robert Sentz, director of the Lebanon County planning department. Sentz, who has worked in the planning department since February 1995, has accepted a position with the Lebanon Water Authority. He will leave his post Aug. 21.

Sentz took over the planning department following the resignation of Kris Troup in April last year. Troup stepped down to take a similar position with North Londonderry Township.

This article comes to us through a partnership between Lebanon Daily News and WITF. 

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