Unforeseen expense with Davenport's new housing program

DAVENPORT, Iowa. (KWQC) - A new program for the city of Davenport may cause some concerns in the budget with unforeseen costs. The DREAM project is in its first year, kicking off on July 1st. Its goal is to help new and existing home-owners restore their homes with $900,000 in total.

Davenport City Council has to decide where approximately $140,000 will come from to pay for an unforeseen cost from the DREAM Project

There are 4 staff members working on the applications. Because of the kind of funding they have, they can only work on applications that fall under a certain income restriction. TV6 has asked for that restriction and is waiting to hear back.

The issue is, 90% of the applications they've received so far, don't fall under that income cap. Which means they can't get paid for their work. So, the city has to find where to take that money from.

"The question becomes at the end of the day: for the money currently available for DREAM Project - about $900,000 total, are we going to pay the employees out of the project which means $140,000 less available to pay the homeowners who are submitting applications?" voiced Brandon Wright, CFO and assistance aid administrator for the city of Davenport

The other option the city is facing is taking it from the general fund. But, "the issue with the general fund is that generally speaking, that's how most city employees are paid.. All our public safety is paid through there, that's how we work on crime reduction goals and things like that- from that fund." said Wright.

"We had lots of expenses in the city this year. Lots of flooding and potholes. It was an expensive year for the city" said 3rd Ward Alderwoman Marion Meginnis

Mary-Alice Houston who is applying for the DREAM Project says she doesn't mind if the money comes out of the overall dream budget, because in the end, homeowners are still getting help. "This is a given, you know what I mean? If they have to take things out of the funds, it's still a given. I believe they will be sort enough or be well informed enough to know what to do."

Alderwoman Meginnis thinks some of the funds from the DREAM project could also be used to help reach those with income-restrictions, since they may not know about the project in the first place, "people eligble for restricted income may be older, have less access to financial information, might not even have a computer. In order to use that pot of money effectively do we need to come up with stronger ways to reach out?"

She said they are getting quick feedback about this problem, and are hoping the City Council can decide where this money will be coming from. The issue was just brought to the city on Monday night, and they don't know yet when they'll have a decision.