Steve Chumley, director of technical services for the housing authority, will bring officials with Siemens Government Technologies to the June housing authority meeting to detail the program that involves a guarantee of significant savings.
Chumley said the housing authority would have to borrow money to make the physical upgrades to the housing stock. The payments would be made out of savings that are generated.
“I look at the high rises,” Chumley said. “We could use new boilers, toilets, shower heads. We could replace faucet valves.”
Siemens would come in to help develop a specific strategy for savings, conduct energy audits, load profiling, examine utility bill management and the like. The company would assist the housing authority comply with changing federal mandates for energy efficiency, sustainable properties, water conservation and improved interior environmental quality.
NWGHA Finance Director Debra Toothman worked with Siemens at the Newark, N.J., Housing Authority, where the company helped the large public housing agency generate $2.6 million in energy savings. While not anticipating that kind of savings in Rome, Toothman said that water and sewer bills in Rome are extremely high and could benefit from a detailed conservation program.
Toothman explained that, for example, consumption reimbursement for water and sewer bills would be frozen by HUD at $70 per unit. If the Siemens group were to reduce actual cost to $35 a unit, the housing authority would benefit from the difference.
Chumley said another major benefit of the program would involve the acquisition of new equipment that would not need anywhere near the amount of maintenance budget that older boilers, toilets and the like get at present.
NWGHA Executive Director Sandra Hudson said HUD is now promoting the energy savings performance contract program across the Southeast region.
In other business, Hudson told the board she is continuing to pursue an assisted living program for residents. Hudson said getting Medicaid waivers would pay for a variety of services to senior residents who are otherwise not able to take care of themselves.
The state of Georgia has not given Medicaid waivers to public housing agencies in the past.
“You get so much money so that basically we could go in and provide a lot of services for our residents. We would provide three meals, have a nurse. It would be a licensed assisted living program,” Hudson said.
NWGHA Board Chairwoman Lee Hight said many of the residents of public housing simply couldn’t afford private assisted living facilities.
If the housing authority is successful in getting Medicaid waivers, some of the funds that will be generated will be used to install a sprinkler system in the high-rise designated for the assisted living program.
Also, architectural work associated with the replacement of the old fairgrounds public housing complex on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is nearing completion, according to Doug Braden, assistant director of technical services. Called the Overlook at Fairgrounds, the gated-community complex is expected to go to bid sometime in September, with construction expected to commence in November.
Toothman reported that through the month of April the housing authority is showing a profit of $97,464.