Summit Combined Housing Authority tax renewal on November ballot
If passed, it will extend the 0.6% affordable housing tax for 20 years
When Summit County voters approved the Summit Combined Housing Authority’s 5A measure in 2016, they approved a temporary sales tax of 0.6% for the next 10 years that would be allocated to affordable housing projects throughout the community. The county began collecting this sales tax revenue in 2017 and will do so through 2027, unless the measure is renewed.
Though six years ahead of its expiration, voters can expect to see the tax extension question on the Nov. 2 ballot asking whether they support its renewal. In 2016, voters approved the 0.6% tax for 10 years, but this new question is asking whether voters support an extension for another 20 years, meaning the tax would expire in 2047 unless it’s renewed again.
Rob Murphy, executive director for the Summit Combined Housing Authority, said the purpose of tacking on an additional 20 years is so that, if passed, jurisdictions have more avenues to access various funding sources that could be paired with the tax revenue.
“Twenty years is an important number because that is sort of a threshold at which the jurisdictions can potentially bond against future taxes, which would give them the opportunity to borrow money more quickly that would help fund projects now and in the next several years,” Murphy said. “The extension itself is really important, but that number — that 20 years — was chosen for a specific reason.”
Murphy said community leaders are jumping the gun and adding the question to this year’s ballot — as Referred Measure 6B — mainly because of the level of need felt in the community as housing remains in short supply for the local workforce.
“The idea is that given the housing crisis, given the emergency we’re in with regard to housing in our community right now, the jurisdictions wanted to go to the voters and request a commitment for an extension of 5A beyond 2026 and to do that now partly because things are so dire in terms of our housing situation,” he said.
The 0.6% tax is collected and then distributed proportionately to the county and all of the towns each year. Murphy said in August that since the measure was passed, it has generated about $47 million in funding across the community. The tax has helped fund projects such as the Dillon Valley Vistas and Huron Landing in Breckenridge, among others.
Summit County Republicans Chairman Mike Tabb said he was neutral on the ballot measure. When issues such as this one target a program that helps individuals, he said it’s best to leave it up to voters whether they see value in the initiative. Tabb said it’s other government initiatives, such as Breckenridge’s short-term license cap, that feel like overreach.
“We’re always advocating for (the government to) spend wisely with what you’ve got,” Tabb said. “You can only stay focused on so many issues. It’s hard to argue against helping people find affordable housing here in the county.”
For more information about Summit County’s election, visit SummitDaily.com/election.
Voters can register to vote through Election Day, though they must do so by Oct. 26 to receive their ballot by mail, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. People can register or check their status by visiting GoVoteColorado.gov.
Those who voted in the last election do not need to register again. Once registered, voters can sign up for Colorado Ballottrax, which is a ballot-tracking notification service. For more information, visit Colorado.ballottrax.net/voter.
Without raising any additional taxes, authorizing a 20-year extension of the existing six-tenths of 1% workforce and affordable housing sales tax and limiting vendor fees without raising any additional taxes. Shall the existing Summit Combined Housing Authority levy be extended for 20 years for affordable housing purposes including the construction of workforce rental and owner-occupied housing units through an extension of the existing six-tenths of 1% (0.6%) sales tax commencing in 2027, and shall section 6(F) of the sales tax resolution No. 2016-02 be amended to limit the maximum vendor fee collected by vendors to a reasonable amount to be established by the authority, and shall the levy be collected and spent as a voter-approved revenue change without limitation or condition under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?
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