Election 2017: 5A promises to bring new era of affordable housing to Steamboat area | SteamboatToday.com

Election 2017: 5A promises to bring new era of affordable housing to Steamboat area

It was a happy coincidence that Yampa Valley Housing Authority Executive director Jason Peasley arrived at the Reserves at Steamboat April 14, in time to help Gabriela Valdez, one of the first five to move into the affordable apartment project.
Tom Ross/File

Shall Yampa Valley Housing Authority taxes be increased $900,000.00 in tax collection year 2018 and by whatever amount is generated annually thereafter by the imposition of a property tax levy of not more than 1.0 mill, which property tax levy may be collected only for ten years (through and including the 2027 tax collection year), for land acquisition, planning, design, financing, construction and administration of housing developments serving seasonal, low income and entry level households or for other lawful purposes; and shall the proceeds of such taxes and investment earnings thereon be collected and spent notwithstanding the limitations of article x, section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law, including section 29-1-301 of Colorado Revised Statutes?

Election 2017 — Routt County ballot issues  Steamboat schools seek approval for $12.9M bond, $1 million mill levy Hayden Schools looks to build modern campus with passage of 3A  Soroco withdraws mill levy request for salaries due to math error Ref. 2B Steamboat residents to decide fate of city council health insurance plans 5A promises to bring new era of affordable housing to Steamboat area Tax dollars from 2A would fund infrastructure improvements in Hayden For complete Steamboat Pilot & Today coverage of the 2017 election, visit steamboattoday.com/news/election

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The board of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority voted Aug. 24 to seek voter permission to collect a 10-year, one-mill property tax within its district, which includes the city of Steamboat Springs and an area that is similar to the boundaries of the Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District.

The purpose of the tax would be to continue the success the authority had in 2016 and 2017 when it acted on the findings of a community-wide housing steering committee and successfully developed an affordable apartment building, The Reserves at Steamboat.

“We need to do something. We need to have an impact,” Catherine Carson told her fellow YVHA board members in the summer of 2017. “I think this plan, based on our community-wide discussion and focus on solutions, is coming down to making a real difference for our community. I feel positive about this, and one thing I do know is if we don’t try, we’re never going to succeed.”

YVHA achieved a milestone in spring 2017, with the opening of The Reserves at Steamboat, which offered 48 income-restricted affordable rental apartments. Federal income tax credits, awarded by the Colorado Housing Finance Authority and sold to a corporate investor, allowed YVHA to partner with a private sector apartment building developer on the new housing project.

The Reserves was fully leased with a waiting list, as of early fall, of 80 households. The housing authority reports that The Reserves currently is home to 53 children whose parents work in the community.

And members of the housing authority emphasize that the housing that would be created by the tax would support a stable workforce that is “vital to the economic success of the community.”

The estimate is that the tax created by Referendum 5A would raise $900,000 annually until it sunsets after 10 years. And by using the tax dollars to leverage private investment, the board is predicting the money would help to fund the creation of six to eight new housing developments.

The estimated cost to the taxpayers is $36 of additional property tax annually per $500,000 of assessed residential valuation. And for commercial properties with a valuation of $500,000, the tax is estimated to be $145 per year.

The housing authority board is a taxing entity originally established and funded by the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County in 2003. They charged the organization with planning, financing, acquiring, managing and operating housing programs for low- and moderate-income residents employed in Routt County.

The new housing projects would be counted on to help to meet the current shortfall in housing for seasonal workers, low-income households and households ready to move into entry-level homes. Accordingly, the authority says it intends to develop 350 low-income rental units, another 350 seasonal housing beds and a mix of 150 homes that will be permanently affordable through rental or ownership.

“It will be imperative for this board to make sure we’re annually looking at what we’re doing good and bad and analyze whether we’re making headway with this community investment or not,” Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger, who also serves on the YVHA Board, said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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