Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Apartments to be placed under ERHA jurisdiction

 

May 20, 2020



The Chaparral Apartments in Tucumcari will be placed under the jurisdiction of the federal Eastern Regional Housing Authority based in Roswell, like the rest of Tucumcari’s other public housing units.

The transfer of the 24-unit Chaparral complex had been delayed as Tucumcari city officials explored its status as property of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development arm.

The Tucumcari Housing Authority’s board of directors, consisting of all five Tucumcari city commissioners, decided Friday since Chaparral was managed on behalf of the now-defunct Tucumcari Housing Authority, it would join all of the THA units to be managed by ERHA.

“Tucumcari is no longer in the housing business,” acting city manager Mark Martinez told the housing board, saying holding on to the Chaparral units would bring unwanted problems and liability to the city.

Former employees of the Tucumcari Housing Authority now work for the Eastern Regional Housing Authority, and the THA’s former public housing units now belong to the ERHA.

Jerry Berkholder, president of Monarch Properties, which managed Chaparral for THA, said he would have no problem in managing the units under ERHA. The USDA, he said, would still own the property, and Monarch would manage it for ERHA.

District 4 Commissioner Chris Arias asked for assurances Monarch would continue to manage the units, saying Monarch had done very well managing Chaparral for THA.

ERHA Director Chris Herbert, however, said the USDA Rural Development official in charge of the unit’s public housing in the state was too new to be certain about some of the jurisdictional questions.

District 1 Commissioner Ralph Moya said he was worried about the city’s liability exposure if the transfer to ERHA gets snagged.

Herbert said ERHA would take on liability as soon as the property is transferred to ERHA management.

The Tucumcari housing board voted to go ahead with the transfer on a 4-1 vote.

Moya cast the single “no” vote, saying he disapproved of the transfer until the matter reached “crisis level to be settled.

Moya has voted “no: on every measure in the process of surrendering ownership and management of THA’s units to the ERHA.

HUD authorities announced in August that ERHA would take over responsibility for THA, based mostly on failure to meet a standard of 98% occupancy rates. The regional HUD authority had given the Tucumcari authority unacceptably low scores in its performance ratings despite high scores in other areas.

While THA managed the city’s public housing until May 1, funding for renters’ subsidies and other operations always had come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that oversees ERHA.

 
 

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