SHA secures short-term future
BRECKENRIDGE – At a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Monday, the towns of Silverthorne, Breckenridge and Frisco joined the BOCC in agreeing to keep the Summit Housing Authority afloat for the next three years.
Beyond that, however, nothing is certain.
“It’s very tenuous at this point,” Commissioner Gary Lindstrom said. “We’re not going to do this unless everyone is on board.”
Citing a report written by consultant Gary Suiter, SHA board chair Doug Sullivan reinforced Lindstrom’s viewpoint, saying the towns’ support was crucial and that the organization needed to hire an executive director in addition to securing a permanent funding source.
“For a multi-jurisdictional housing authority really to work, everyone has to be in on that,” Sullivan said.
Breckenridge Mayor Sam Mamula agreed.
“If the towns don’t come to the table with interim funding right now, then we’re wasting our time,” he said. “If one town is not in on it, I guarantee the other towns will drop out and the housing authority will fall apart.”
The SHA this year concludes a deal whereby local governments and the four ski resorts contribute $177,000 a year to keep the SHA operating.
Silverthorne Town Manager Kevin Batchelder said his town was willing to commit to another intergovernmental agreement (IGA), the funding mechanism that has allowed the SHA to survive thus far, at least for the short term.
Mamula said the Breckenridge town council seemed to be in favor.
However, each town seemed to be waiting for the others to take the lead.
“Frisco is just kind of standing back and waiting to see what everybody else is doing,” Frisco Town Manager Alan Briley said.
Though no one representing Dillon was in attendance, County Manager Ron Holliday reported that, in a phone call to Town Manager Jack Benson, he had received the same information – that Dillon was interested in seeing what every other town planned on doing.
“I don’t think any one of us is making a commitment for our full council, but it seems as if there’s some support,” Mamula said.
Still, the question of long-term funding for the organization remains up in the air.
“We’re absolutely confused as to what the best source is,” Mamula said.
In his report, Suiter pointed to the possibility of a .4 percent or .5 percent sales tax and an impact fee on development.
“That’s something I would say would not be put on the ballot this year,” Lindstrom said.
County Commissioner Bill Wallace pointed to a ballot measure to fund the organization that failed last year and said cooperation among all the entities involved is crucial if any similar future proposal is to succeed.
“I think if they all supported it that there would be a better chance that it would pass,” Wallace said of a new measure. “None of the towns or the county wants the IGA to come up in another three years. We’re all hoping a permanent funding source can be found.”
Sullivan said that filling the leadership gap in the housing authority left by the resignation of former executive director Gordon Ferris would help the housing authority at least facilitate the investigations necessary to secure a stable future.
“We need to hire an executive director,” he said. “From what I’ve heard here, I’m going to start (that) process now.”
Suiter reiterated the point that cooperation among all the involved entities – the towns, the county and the ski areas – would ultimately make or break the deal.
“It is extremely important to have consensus before we move forward so that we don’t get to the eleventh hour and have a holdout,” he said.
Mamula pointed to rough times for the SHA over the past few months as an obstacle to overcome but seemed hopeful with the tentative agreement.
“We can’t let this die now,” he said.
Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or email@example.com.
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