Friday, July 28, 2006

Ballot Initiative for Summit Housing Authority

A proposed ballot initiative that would fund a countywide housing authority for the next 10 years garnered unanimous support from the Breckenridge Town Council earlier this week.

The Summit Housing Authority is seeking endorsement from all the local towns, as well as from other key constituencies, including the real estate and development community, before moving ahead with the ballot push.

"We need to get strongly behind this," said Town Councilmember Rob Millisor, after asking Summit Housing Authority (SHA) director Bonnie Osborn how far the money would go to address the affordable housing crunch in Breckenridge and around the rest of the county.

"This will raise about $32 million in the next 10 years. How does that address the problem?" Millisor said, describing the planned initiative that would use a combination of a sales tax and development impact fees to raise money. Other council members wanted to know how many units would be built on the ground with the money, and how the funds would be distributed back to the communities where they are collected.

Osborn said it's hard to pinpoint the exact number of units that could be built, explaining that it depends on the cost of land, and whether land may in some cases be donated. At best, she said it might close the gap - projected to climb to 3,000 units in the next few years - by about a quarter.

"It's not going to make much of a dent," she acknowledged.

As currently proposed, the ballot measure would add 0.125 percent to sales taxes around the county, raising about $1.3 million annually. The impact fees would be charged per square foot of new development, climbing on a graduated scale tied to the size of projects.

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