Summit County voters approve affordable housing, cell tower measures
Summit County voters approved local ballot measures 1A and 5A, according to preliminary results from the Summit County Clerk and Recorder’s Office on Tuesday night.
These results indicate that Measure 1A, which allows the county the ability to provide telecommunication services, received 89 percent of the vote. Measure 5A, an extension of the existing workforce and affordable housing tax, passed with 76 percent. More than 5,700 votes were cast on each measure.
“We’re excited and grateful that Summit County voters demonstrated such overwhelming support for workforce housing,” County Commissioner Thomas Davidson, who chairs the Summit Combined Housing Authority (SCHA) board, said in a statement. “We’ll put these funds to good use, helping locals in concrete ways.”
Measure 5A continues the 0.125-percent sales tax that supports the construction of local workforce housing projects and the services and programs offered by SCHA. The housing authority will continue to be able to provide homebuyers’ education classes, loan options, down-payment assistance and home rehabilitation assistance for eligible residents.
“This doesn’t solve our problems on the housing front by any means,” Davidson said, “but it does keep some very useful tools in our toolbox. We still have a lot of work ahead when it comes to funding projects that put affordable units on the ground in the numbers this community needs.”
The measure’s passage comes in the midst of a substantial post-recession rebound in home prices and an extremely tight rental market. The median price of a home in Summit County currently exceeds $700,000.
“Our local economy and community character depend on the ability of our workforce to live inside Summit County,” he said. “We believe the people who work here should be able to live here, too, and we’re committed to making that a reality.”
County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier pointed to strong voter turnout in all four Summit towns.
“Every other day employees are lost,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a time like this for housing in Summit County.”
Measure 1A allows Summit County to provide high-speed internet services, telecommunications services and cable television services. The measure restores authorities removed by Senate Bill 152, passed by the Colorado Legislature in 2005.
“We now have the legal ability to fill telecommunications gaps where the private sector is falling short,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said in a written statement. “It’s important to understand that we still need to identify partners and funding for such projects, but Summit County voters have helped us remove a major regulatory barrier.”
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