2020 DHA budget suggests McDougald Terrace maintenance cuts

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The ABC11 I-Team is following the money trail in its search for answers in the McDougald Terrace public housing crisis and made some alarming discoveries.

ABC11 dug through DHA's 2020 Draft Budget and uncovered startling suggested cuts at Durham's largest and oldest public housing community.

Carbon monoxide concerns are the latest, but not only issues facing the troubled housing units.

ALSO SEE: 3 infant deaths at McDougald Terrace not carbon monoxide-related

Durham Housing Authority CEO Anthony Scott said Thursday at a news conference that all occupied units at McDougald Terrace have been inspected.

RELATED: How to help families forced to leave McDougald Terrace amid carbon monoxide scare

Of 70 units inspected Tuesday, 22 had elevated carbon monoxide levels in one or more appliances. A total of 256 families remain in 12 different hotels.

DHA Overview

DHA is its own entity but is subject to HUD rules and regulations. It is not a component of the city nor is the city legally responsible to fund deficits. Despite this, the mayor of Durham is pledging city support.

Overall Budget

The total estimated capital budget expenses for DHA in 2020 is roughly $42.6 million. That includes $11 million going to low-income public housing with $3 million going to Edgemont Elms, Preiss Steele Place, Goley Point and Damar Court.

Administrative salaries were estimated to increase by 2 percent while overall public housing spending increased less than 1 percent from last year.

Maintenance Spending

ABC11 has been flooded with emails and concerns from residents at McDougald Terrace who explained a multitude of maintenance issues aside from carbon monoxide concerns.

Leaking ceilings, chronic flooding, sewage backups and mold -- those issues are required to be mitigated by the property's maintenance team.

We analyzed the proposed maintenance spending data for 2020 at McDougald Terrace.

The property is estimated to bring in $3,020,991 but according to the budget breakdown, the DHA suggests spending only $918,215 on maintenance. That figure is down 20 percent from last year.

Spending on tenant services, however, is suggested to increase by 20 percent. According to the DHA website, resident services include transportation, substance abuse resources, along with other classes and programs.

Bottom Line

ABC11 asked Scott about the suggested cuts and he indicated that the 2020 budget allocations were not the only source of funds. There are other pots of money that they could allocate.

On average, DHA plans to spend 139 percent more on maintenance needs for all properties in comparison to last year. The breakdown varies from property to property.

More emphasis is being placed on tenant services and programs while some properties could see a decrease in funding for certain protective services.

The city's $95 million housing bond will not address issues at McDougald Terrace. Mayor Steve Schewel said he's working to figure out where the city can pull funding to assist.

The I-Team found that theoretically, if the housing bond were to be allocated to McDougald, it could fund the property 21 times over, and rebuild it twice.

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