Affordable housing funding question on Summit County ballot | SummitDaily.com

Affordable housing funding question on Summit County ballot

Greg Ellison
gellison@summitdaily.com

If Summit County voters approve Ballot Question 5A this November, funding streams to address the high demand for affordable workforce housing will continue to flow.

In 2006, county voters authorized a sales and use tax of one-eighth of one percent (0.125 percent) seeking to improve the quality, availability and affordability of housing in the county.

Gary Martinez, Summit county manager, said if voters opt to continue the revenue stream, it would help the issue but not solve the problem.

"5A helps fill the void, but it isn't going to fill the whole thing," he said.

Between 2007 and 2014, the 5A tax raised $13,282,700. The bulk of the money is divided between the county and the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne.

"It's according to sales tax generated in each jurisdiction," he explained.

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More than ten percent of the 5A money, or about $1.7 million, has helped to fund the Summit County Combined Housing Authority over the years.

Jennifer Kermode, executive director of SCHA, said if voters pass 5A, it would keep her organization running and help finance current and future affordable housing projects.

"Close to fifty percent of renters (in Summit County) are cost-burdened," she said. "Meaning they are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing."

Statistics from the SCHA flesh out what's been accomplished with 5A funds since 2007. There were 350 new workforce housing units created, increasing the total to 900 at the end of 2014. According to the 2013 Summit County Workforce Housing Needs Assessment, the total units required within five years will be at least 1,700 and could be as high as 3,000.

The list of neighborhoods established since 2007 include; Vic's Landing, Solorado, Peak One, Valley Brook, Wellington Phase II, Villa Sierra Madre II, Boulevard Bend, Condos Off Main, Town Center Condos and Homes at Maggie Point. All of these projects included market priced units and deed-restricted units.

Programs the SCHA has supported over the last ten years include: Department of Housing down payment assistance loans, homebuyer education, Section 8 vouchers, deed monitoring and loan servicing.

The various SCHA real estate programs and loan programs have aided over 2,000 people since 2007 and positively affected 307 businesses.

The revenue stream also facilitated several multiple acre land purchases, including 52 acres at the Smith Ranch in Silverthorne. About $2.7 million of the $3.5 purchase price for Smith Ranch land was provided by 5A dollars.

In July 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Lake Hill Administrative Site Affordable Housing Act to convey 40 acres of land from the U.S. Forest Service and Summit County.

The parcel is situated between Interstate 70 and Dillon Dam Road, close to the towns of Frisco and Dillon.

The Lake Hill land acquisition should be completed by the end of 2015, with the next phase involving site planning, Martinez said. He estimated the construction could run from 2017 to 2027 and net between 250 and 300 housing units.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

Kermode said the SCHA has identified economic trends that make it even more challenging to develop affordable workforce housing. The economy has improved since the recession ended in 2009, which has increased the demand for vacation homes in Summit County. Couple this with diminishing land resources, a decrease in second-home owners renting their property and the ability to provide for those making below Summit Counties average median income is further burdened.

"Free-market forces will not solve the problem," she said.

Statistics from the SCHA show that in 1990 the median price for a home in Summit County was $121,000, which has grown to $700,000.

She noted that it takes time to build new units and none of the in development housing projects provides assistance to those with current needs.

Moving forward, she said having the permanent revenue stream provided by 5A helps secure grant funding for housing projects in Summit County. She pointed out this would be accomplished without raising taxes.

In a letter to the editor this week, Summit Foundation executive director Jeanne Bistranin and board of trustees president Mike Schilling endorsed 5A.

"Housing is a basic need, yet many working families and individuals in our communities do not have access to attainable housing," the letter said. "Housing issues are complicated and of a magnitude that no one entity can resolve alone."

Breckenridge Town Manager Tim Gagen said the goal is to create opportunities for locals to stay local.

"We want real neighborhoods where people can raise families," he said.

HOW DO I VOTE?

In Person – Early

When: Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Old Summit County Courthouse (208 E. Lincoln Ave., Breckenridge)

In Person – Election Day

When: Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Old Summit County Courthouse (208 E. Lincoln Ave., Breckenridge), Frisco County Commons (37 Peak One Dr., Frisco) or Silverthorne Pavilion (400 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne)

More info: Voters in line by 7 p.m. are allowed to vote no matter how long it takes. Ballots can also be dropped off at these locations on Election Day.

Drop Off Ballot

When: Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 31, 8 a.m. to noon; Election Day, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Old Summit County Courthouse (208 E. Lincoln Ave., Breckenridge), Dillon Town Hall (275 Lake Dillon Dr.), Frisco Town Hall (1 Main St.), Silverthorne Town Hall (601 Center Circle)

More info: Since Oct. 12, voters also can drop off ballots at the old county courthouse during the above times.

Mail In Ballot

All voters registered in Summit County now should have received a ballot by mail. If you did not, call the county Clerk and Recorder’s Office at (970) 453-3479. Mailed-in ballots must be received by the clerk’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Need to register or change your address?

Visit the county clerk’s office (208 E. Lincoln Ave., Breckenridge) or visit govotecolorado.com. You can register or change your address on or before Election Day, but the last day ballots will be mailed out is Oct. 27; after that, visit the clerk’s office.

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