Report No. 2009-38
Complete Audit Report
The State Auditor performed an audit of the City of St. Louis, Community and Economic Development Offices. These offices include: the Community Development Administration, Planning and Urban Design Agency, Affordable Housing Commission, Land Reutilization Authority, and Port Authority. The following findings were included in our audit report.
The Community Development Administration (CDA) is primarily responsible for the administration of federal funds for housing projects and community and economic development programs. The CDA does not use any formal evaluation criteria to determine subrecipient funding and does not adequately document reasons for funding various proposals. The city allocates money to each aldermanic ward for ward pool housing projects and proposals for projects are received by the CDA throughout the year. The CDA normally documents and summarizes some information for each housing project proposal; however, the CDA does not use any formal evaluation criteria and does not adequately document the reasons for funding the various housing proposals. In calendar year 2008, $10 million was awarded to subrecipients and $4.6 million was allocated to ward pool housing projects.
The city does not advertise for proposals or document the selection process for housing projects funded under the Major Residential/Commercial Initiatives program. The projects funded by this program are proposed and selected by a 12 member aldermanic caucus; however, no meeting minutes or other documentation of the reasons for selecting projects to be funded are maintained. The city allocated a total of $4.3 million to this program during 2007 and 2008.
The city's Healthy Home Repair Program provides home repair loans to homeowners who meet various requirements. The city usually allocates the same amount of Healthy Home Repair Program monies to each aldermanic ward, and it appears the city does not allocate the monies based on the area of greatest need. As of August 28, 2008, there were 3,325 clients on waiting lists mainly in wards with little or no unspent monies, while there were 4 wards with unspent balances that exceeded $120,000 each with small or no waiting lists. In addition, the CDA has not periodically solicited proposals for Healthy Home Repair Program administration services. The city appropriated $2 million to the Healthy Home Repair Program in 2008.
The Affordable Housing Commission (AHC) provides partial financing for affordable housing development, homeless shelters and prevention programs, neighborhood home repair, and training programs. The AHC does not summarize the results of the evaluation process when selecting applications for funding awards. The AHC does not have a formal plan for the selection of recipients chosen for fiscal monitoring and does not have formal procedures for tracking recommendations made as a result of fiscal monitoring reviews. In addition, the AHC has not established adequate policies or procedures for on-site monitoring of recipients or to ensure loans to housing developers are repaid in compliance with the loan agreements. During the year ended June 30, 2008, the AHC awarded funding of $5.4 million.
The Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) takes control of delinquent tax properties that fail to be sold at land tax sales and purchases properties for redevelopment by the CDA. The LRA manages, sells, transfers, or otherwise disposes of these properties to return the properties to a tax-generating status. Improvements are needed in land inventory records, and the LRA does not have contracts related to costs incurred for property maintenance and upkeep. Expenses incurred for maintenance and upkeep are not allocated to individual properties as required by state law. The LRA's policies for land sale pricing are outdated or not adequately documented. LRA staff estimated it controlled approximately 9,300 parcels of land at December 31, 2008.
Also included in the audit are recommendations related to the CDA's monitoring and receipt procedures.