Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cutting Wood, Cutting Corners?

A few months ago I was attending a meeting at city hall when the subject came up about about rehabbing some of the older houses around town, sprucing them up and painting them. At first I didn't pay much attention until I realized that the city had come into a windfall of money from a government grant just for that purpose, and to not spend it meant losing it. For a homeowner to qualify all that was required was proof that your total household income was below a certain level, which varied depending on how many people lived there. Since I live alone and collect Social Security it didn't seem like there was any way that I wouldn't qualify. They didn't even take into account things like my house is paid for so there are no monthly mortgage payments. Essentially all I had to do was show what my Social Security income amounted to.

Being a concerned citizen of North Miami it seemed like it was my civic duty to fill out the paperwork and take the money so it wouldn't have to be given back to the federal government. How could I argue with a deal like that? I even asked if Uncle Sam would consider the windfall as taxable income, but I was told that since I never received the money (it got paid directly by the city to the contractor) the answer was "no".

A few weeks later and I was picking out the paint colors. The house was pressure cleaned, some rotted and termite damaged wood was replaced, and a coat of sealer and three coats of paint followed. Only a couple of top brands of paint could be used so it would be a first class job.

In this photo a carpenter is trimming a piece of new pressure treated lumber to match an old piece on the front porch roof which had some termite damage.

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