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Assessment District for Quake Repairs Urged

Councilman Hal Bernson recommended Wednesday creating an assessment district to provide funding for homeowners who continue to struggle with the expense of quake damage.

The proposal was offered because the city’s $300-million earthquake-repair program is expected to run out of money this year, leaving about $15 million in loan applications unfunded.

Greig Smith, Bernson’s chief of staff, said most of the unfunded applications are for repairs to single-family homes that received minor or moderate damage.

Under the proposal, a citywide assessment district would be created, similar to the district being proposed to provide funding to repair steel-framed buildings. The city would issue bonds to provide low-interest loans to homeowners, who would pay off the bonds through an annual assessment fee.

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Smith said he is unsure how much money the program can generate. Bernson’s recommendation asks the city’s Housing Department to study the proposal and report back on the feasibility of the plan.


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