Forsyth County commissioners voted 4-3 Thursday to approve a $600,000 loan to PCCI Land Inc. to help with an affordable-housing project on the site of the Budget Inn on Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem.
There was not a motion to vote on an alternate resolution for a $600,000 deferred loan that would have been forgiven over time.
Although Forsyth County has used federal money in the past to build affordable housing, this will be the first time the county has provided its own money for that purpose.
In addition to helping with the construction of affordable housing, the loan will be used to assist with the purchase, demolition and clearance of the Budget Inn at 600 Peters Creek Parkway.
The Winston-Salem City Council approved giving $600,000 to assist with the acquisition of the property in September 2018 and PCCI has committed to raising $200,000 from a third party for the acquisition.
The city of Winston-Salem has looked with favor on efforts to transform the Budget Inn property: The Shalom Project got $15,000 from the city in 2016 for a study on developing workforce housing and retail development on the lot, which was described as being so unattractive that it discouraged investment in the area.
PCCI Land, a limited liability company of The Shalom Project, plans to contract with a developer to build a 72-unit apartment complex that will be leased to low- and moderate-income households at below-market rates.
There will be 18 units for households at or below 30% of the area’s median income and 54 units for those at or below 60% of the area median income.
According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Winston-Salem’s median household income was $42,219 in 2017, the latest information available. Forsyth County’s was $ 48, 369.
The loan comes with several requirements.
“It would require the demolition of the Budget Inn buildings within a year,” Forsyth County Attorney Gordon Watkins said. “If that did not occur, the amount would be immediately repayable.”
Other ways that PCCI’s loan would become immediately repayable are: whenever it achieves financing to build the affordable housing, a breach of agreement with the county, or if nothing is done on the project within four years after the date of execution of the loan agreement with the county.
Eileen Ayuso, The Shalom Project’s executive director, said an attorney has been contracted and the closing date on the property has been scheduled for April 30, but no later than May 8.
Ayuso describes The Shalom Project as an umbrella nonprofit that provides crisis care for people in need and works to end poverty in and around Forsyth County.
Forsyth County Commissioners Richard Linville, Tonya McDaniel and Gloria Whisenhunt opposed the resolution.
“Each arm of the government has different functions,” Whisenhunt said before the vote. “The city here has a different function than the county. The city does participate in housing but never has the county participated in housing. And there are six other projects like this that are out there.”
Whisenhunt said the county builds schools and libraries and does a good job on those projects.
“I just am not willing to start a new function that we’ve never participated in,” she said.
McDaniel said she could not in good conscience and after listening to the community vote for the loan.
“I just feel like it’s not the right time, the right season and the right reason for this project that we’ve not completely vetted out,” McDaniel said.
During the public session, Phillip Carter of Winston-Salem said he is not against affordable housing but is against the structure of the PCCI loan.
“So I ask this board, with providing a loan in the amount of $600,000 without the borrower having secured any funding for the building of said units really be responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars?” Carter asked.
In other business, the board approved a countywide service district to provide fire-protection services.
The Bethania Board of Commissioners, Clemmons Village Council, Lewisville Town Council and Tobaccoville Village Council have passed resolutions for their municipalities to be included in the countywide service district.
Watkins said the tax rate and level of service for the service district will be set during the county’s upcoming budget process.