The Port Townsend City Council voted 6-0 on Nov. 13 to extend the date for the nonprofit Homeward Bound to repay a $250,000 loan for a fourplex designated as future affordable housing in Port …
The Port Townsend City Council voted 6-0 on Nov. 13 to extend the date for the nonprofit Homeward Bound to repay a $250,000 loan for a fourplex designated as future affordable housing in Port Townsend.
The new repayment date is Dec. 26, 2018.
The City Council voted in April to loan Homeward Bound $250,000 to purchase the fourplex and pay for it to be moved from Victoria, British Columbia, to Port Townsend. This loan was to be repaid by Dec. 26, 2017.
Because the Homeward Bound board is still new and getting itself organized, City Manager David Timmons said, it became apparent that repayment date would need to be rescheduled.
The change in repayment date does not change the terms of the loan, he said. The loan has a 2.5 percent interest rate.
Timmons said that were the loan not to be extended, the alternatives would be for Homeward Bound to repay the loan or to default on the loan.
Monica Bell, Homeward Bound board president, spoke to City Council members during that Nov. 13 meeting.
“The [Homeward Bound] board is currently evaluating our organization’s financial position so that we can be sure that we are accepting that loan extension in good faith,” Bell said.
Timmons said that were the city to finance the plan itself, rather than through a third-party lender, it would be in the best overall position in regard to investing in the Cherry Street project.
“We are now in the process of identifying our highest priorities,” Bell said, adding that an interim bookkeeper has been hired at a “competitive rate” and is being paid with grant money to track organizational expenses.
Council member Michelle Sandoval recognizes that Homeward Bound is a fledgling operation, and she wants to see the project finished.
“I have no regrets about taking the actions that we took,” Sandoval said.
“But at the same time, I think it’s a very valuable piece of property, and [the project] also could be a huge success story, and I just don’t want to see it languish too long,” Sandoval said.
“To me, it was very clear that this was going to be an unusual situation,” said council member Pam Adams.
“We were starting at the middle instead of the beginning. There was going to be a lot of delays and interesting creative things happening with it, but that ultimately we were all committed to making it work,” Adams said. “And it makes me sad that we’re hearing so much criticism about it that is not only false but is also a criticism of something we made very clear in the beginning was going to happen.”