SHA again tweaks ballot question |

SHA again tweaks ballot question

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit Housing Authority (SHA) again has changed its proposed ballot question, now backing away from an impact fee and dramatically reducing the proposed sales tax.

The changes will be moot, however, if the Summit Board of County Commissioners doesn’t agree Tuesday to support the proposal and become part of a multi-jurisdictional housing authority.

“The ballot question now is a sales tax only of .05 percent,” said SHA Director Gordon Ferris. “That would raise approximately $400,000 (a year), which is approximately equal to the operating budget of the Summit Housing Authority.

“We’ve moved away from raising money to subsidize projects to just keeping the doors open on the existing housing authority.”

Ferris originally proposed a sales tax increase of .15 of 1 percent, an amount that also would generate about $1.2 million annually.

When that didn’t get the support he had hoped for, he followed the suggestion of other local leaders and augmented it with a fee on new construction. Earlier this week, he had planned to ask voters to approve a sales tax of .075 percent and an impact fee of 45 cents per square foot.

But even that proposal hasn’t garnered everyone’s support, so Ferris has tweaked it yet again.

Ferris wants, at the minimum, to find a steady revenue stream for the authority’s day-to-day operating costs. The SHA’s operating expenses now are covered by donations from the county, towns and ski areas. That funding agreement ends this year, which has given rise to the ballot question.

The ballot question can’t be asked unless at least two local entities agree to form a multi-jurisdictional housing authority, which doesn’t now exist. That group must approve any ballot question.

So far, Silverthorne has said it will become part of the new group. The county commissioners are weighing it, and will decide for or against it on Tuesday.

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