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coming back and saying we need to repay the funds." He sent members of his staff to HUD brief- ings in September, Hadsell pointed out, and he submitted questions about how to write the new local guidelines. "Those questions have never been answered." He continued, "HUD has made a decision that they're actually going to stop answer- ing questions and instead concentrate on trying to issue policy guidelines that would impact everybody rather than answer specific questions." On Jan. 22, Hadsell told the commissioners, a HUD official asked him, "'How can you write guidelines [for the Sarasota County program] until we tell you what they are?'" "Do you have that in writing?" Commissioner Joe Barbetta asked. Hadsell replied that he did not. THE TIMELINE According to a Jan. 14 memo to the board from Hadsell and Tom Polk, director of the county's Planning and Development Services Department, the county unanimously approved a motion on July 10, 2013 to transfer $600,000 from the HOME Partnership account dedicated to housing rehabilitation into a fund to reestablish a down payment assistance program. The Sarasota City Commission did the same on July 15, 2013, the memo says. Then, on July 24, 2013, HUD "issued a new HOME rule that became effective on Aug. 22, 2013," the memo continues. Among the changes in that rule was the requirement that "local governments … develop underwriting guidelines for down payment assistance that both insures that the applicant is able to repay the down payment assistance and also establishes procedures to make sure that the amount of subsidy given to the applicant is the lowest … possible," the memo says. Additionally, the new rule required local gov- ernments to develop and place in the deeds of all the HOME-assisted projects new resale restrictions limiting the incomes of the subse- quent purchasers of the homes. The memo also points out that HUD indicated training on the new rule would be provided. "In anticipation of these training sessions," it says, "local governments were asked to submit written questions to HUD. Sarasota submitted a series of written questions in September on the new rule; however, as of this date, HUD has not answered these questions." U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is Sarasota's congressman. Photo from Congress via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader February 14, 2014 Page 10

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