The Northern Marianas Housing Corp. wants to make some changes to its Qualified Allocation Plan for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.
QAP details the selection criteria and application requirements for housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds and lists all deadlines, application fees, restrictions, and standards.
Usually adopted each year, a QAP helps determine housing priorities and give preference to projects serving the lowest income tenants and projects obligated to serve qualified tenants for the longest periods.
The draft for the 2013 and 2014 QAP was presented to the board before it was opened for public comments, the deadline for which was Feb. 28.
Among the changes that NMHC wants in its QAP is to make it a two-year plan instead of the previous one-year effectivity.
Corporate director Jesse Palacios said in an interview that having a QAP approved for a two-year period means they don't have to go through the review, comment, and approval process each year.
Palacios said that the two-year plan would only be revisited and amended if there are any changes within the covered period, as called for by federal requirements.
He noted that a two-year QAP is done by Hawaii, after which the NMHC's plan is patterned.
Another change in the QAP is adding Energy Efficiency and Green Building as one of the criteria.
“Whatever project is coming up, if they address energy efficiency, then they get more points,” said Palacios.
He also wanted to make it clear in the 2013-2014 QAP that only organizations classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code can participate in the federal LIHTC program.
“It wasn't really clear in the last QAP,” he said.
Palacios pointed out that they added another section under compliance and monitoring, which would allow NMHC to investigate if it receives complaints about the project or if there is a perceived violation of the program. This means the agency won't have to wait for its schedule of annual inspection or monitoring before initiating the investigation.
“We'd like to address matters as they appear,” Palacios told Saipan Tribune.
Board chair Marcie Tomokane recommended that the agency specify in the plan that all fees associated with the LIHTC application are nonrefundable.
Should there be no public comments received for the final draft of the 2013-2014 QAP, it will be forwarded to the governor for his signature. In the event that there are any comments, the plan will have to be referred back to the NMHC board.