Summit County must repay $130,470 to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development because of a failed housing project dating back to 2003.
The county had given federal HOME money to Envision Builders Inc. and its nonprofit partner, Northern Summit County Community Development Corp., to construct eight single-family homes in Twinsburg Township. The homes — intended for low- and moderate-income families — never were built, however.
The company used the money to buy 12 parcels and make improvements on the land, then went out of business.
HUD wants its money back, or the county won’t receive any future HOME funds.
“We don’t really have a choice,” said Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry.
In hindsight, he said, the county shouldn’t have partnered with Envision.
The county won a lawsuit against the company three years ago, but there aren’t any assets to collect, Dodson said.
The county has foreclosed on the properties and plans to buy them at sheriff’s sale and try to develop them with the help of an established nonprofit to recoup some of its costs, he added.
Holly Miller, the county’s community development coordinator, told the County Council this week that HUD plans to return the $130,470 to the county right after the county pays up.
“We lose the $130,000 for about a week,” she said.
The council must approve the payment and is expected to vote on legislation Monday.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com.