HESPERIA The City Council voted to spend hundreds of thousands of federal dollars to rehabilitate foreclosed homes locally but they weren't happy about it.


"This program is terrible," said Councilman Russ Blewett, of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. "We're going to get through it and never do it again."


Councilman Paul Bosacki, often at odds with Blewett, was in full agreement Tuesday.


"The strings attached, the moving targets ... hindsight's always 20/20, but we are where we are now," Bosacki said.


The program was created when former President George W. Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, providing funds for local communities to buy up and rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned homes in an attempt to stem the blight that affects neighborhoods hit by waves of foreclosures.


But the program was underway before all the details had been worked out by the federal government, according to city staff, forcing participating cities like Hesperia to purchase houses at only 1 percent below fair market rate in specified regions of their communities and hire contractors under strict federal guidelines.


In the end, the city is forced to grossly overspend on the project, according to Blewett, a past president of the Building Industry Association's Southern California Baldy View Chapter.


In the end, the council approved awarding the $359,985 contract to KNC Construction of Apple Valley, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, by a 4-0 vote. Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith abstained from the vote, as his concrete pumping company had previously done business with KNC Construction some years before.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com.