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 UPDATED May 15: To give back federal funds, or not to give back federal funds – that was the question at the most recent meeting of the Arlington Housing Authority. Last month, members underwent the annual reorganization, took steps to enforce equity in hiring and approved improvements at two properties that house elderly and/or disabled town residents.

On April 17, the AHA got together via Zoom starting at 6:45 p.m., with Brian Connor, the governor’s appointee to AHA, running the meeting, and with board’s attorney, John Greco, supervising the election of officers. Connor was the only nominee for chair -- his present position -- seconded by tenant member Fiorella Badilla. Nicholas Mitropoulos made the motion to nominate Gaar Talanian for vice chair, which Badilla seconded. Mitropoulos was nominated for treasurer, seconded by Badilla.

However, divergence of opinion occurred during the vote for possibly returning American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to the town. AHA has previously received $35,000 to purchase a van. “The senior association has really stepped up to the plate where they provided the services for us, and [so] there is no need to buy a van at this point,” Connor said. “The money was restricted to a van. I discussed it with Jack, and we don’t have a need for a van, so I think we should do the right thing and return the money.”

Mitropoulos moved to return the funding, and this was seconded by Talanian.

However, member Jo Anne Preston then raised the idea of alternatives. “I don’t think we should return the money to the town, because we have more time [available] to think about how to use it productively,” she said. Preston mentioned renting the van for seniors to go out for activities; Connor then pointed out concerns for hiring laborers. Members and Greco agreed on opening up the issue for reconsideration, or continuing the decision to a future meeting; all voted in favor for reconsideration, so that may now take place at the 7 p.m. May 15 meeting.

The members then moved on to discussing the approval of the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Affirmative Action Plan. Find information about the action plan here >>

Mitropoulos moved to approve the action plan, and it was seconded by Badilla; the vote to approve was unanimous.

“This policy [itself] became effective after the board voted on it at the last meeting," Nagle noted. "The Arlington Housing Authority will continue to make efforts to ensure its employment and other advertising efforts meet this policy as well as any other state or federal requirements related to it.”

He then announced capital project updates “Eversource and Jupiter Electric will be able to move forward to transform a relocation in Chestnut Manor,” he said. “The electric panel upgrade project at the housing building is near completion. All electrical panels in the residents’ units were replaced.” 

Members also approved a panel replacement at Chestnut Manor; $129,000 was budgeted for the project. The motion was made by Talanian and seconded by Mitropoulos, with the vote 5-0.

The AHA also confirmed its participation in the Arlington Connections and Resource Fair, which took place April 28.

According to Nagle, representatives of various nonprofit organizations and town departments were to be at the information fair. “It definitely will be a great opportunity for individuals in Arlington to understand the different resources that exist here,” he said.  

March 25, 2024: Housing authority OKs heat pumps, learns of wage rates, state help

This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Crystal Lin was published Sunday, May 12, 2024. It was updated Monday, May 13, to correct the names of those involved in the nomination for vice chair. On May 15, the date of the May 2024 monthly meeting was corrected to Thursday, May 16.  YourArlington regrets the errors. 

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