The Alexandria City Council has extended the city's rent relief program to include permanently or totally disabled residents. Previously only those over 65 were eligible.
The council, in its first legislative session since June, also raised the maximum yearly income under which a person may apply for the program from $7,500 to $11,000. Maximum net worth was increased from $20,000 to $35,000.
The action, taken at a meeting last week, follows a similar expansion of the tax relief program passed by the council before it went on its summer recess.
The council raised the maximum tax relief allowed from $500 to $550 per year and City Manager Douglas Harman recommended in a report to the council that the same level be set in the case of the rent relief program.
But the council refused and the ceiling was set at $325.
"Effectively that will make very little difference if any at all," explained James W. Randall, assistant city manager for management and budget.
Randall said almost no one now in the program receives more than $325 because relief is based on the assumption that 15 per cent of a person's rent goes for taxes.
"You're not going to find somebody who is paying that high a rent (over $500) who would fall within the eligibility guidelines of the income program," said Randall.
Randall added that the only reason the council had been asked to set a ceiling of $550 was to make it consistent with the tax relief program.
Harman estimated that the expanded program would cost the city $12,445 more than the $55,000 estimated in the current budget, but added that "the fiscal impact will be within the city's available resources."
In the 1976-1977 fiscal year, which ended June 30, the city provided rent relief to 262 persons at a total cost of $59,606, according to figures released by the city. The average grant amounted to $228.
The city estimates that in the current fiscal year 287 persons will be eligible for the program at a total cost of $67,445 with the average grant being $235.
In other action, the city council:
Unanimously approved an allocation of $17,183 to help low-income residents pay last winter's utility and fuel bills.
Deferred the appointment of an architect and the allocation of funds for renovations to the city jail until the Sept. 27 meeting. The Council also asked the city manager for a further report on the bidding for the project.
Received an appeal from the Board of Architectural Review and said it would decide on the proposed design of the new courthouse at the Sept. 27 meeting.
Rejected the growth policy statement by the Metropolitan Council of Governments which calls for growth around the Metro stations. Rosemond residents, where the Braddock Road Metro station is to be located, say they do not want growth in that area.