A controversy between Macon City Council and the city administration over houses built by the city with federal funds has been simmering for the past couple of years. Now the issue has come to full boil.
During a City Council Public Properties Committee meeting last week, several council members blasted Mayor Robert Reichert and Wanzina Jackson, the city’s director of the Economic and Community Development Department, about repeat issues pointed out in city audits that are related to that department.
The main question from the council: Has the city spent money from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development correctly? And if Macon has spent federal money on expenses for which the funds aren’t authorized, for how much is the city on the hook?
Councilman Mike Cranford has been among the most vocal critics and is frustrated that the city is now seemingly stuck with 23 rebuilt houses that it has been unable to sell for the past couple of years, when the sub-prime loan crisis hit communities across the nation. During last week’s meeting, he said it was “idiocy” that the city has built properties that have cost the city more than they are worth on the open market.
“It’s ridiculous that (the administration) has allowed us to get into this hole,” Cranford said Wednesday. “We’ve known about this in two years of audits, and they’ve done nothing.”
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