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Housing authority still needs solving

Editorial

Dillon town manager Jack Benson, in a recent discussion about the Summit County Visitor Information Center’s (VIC) woes, likened the financial quandary to the Summit Housing Authority.His analogy was on target and reminds us we have not yet solved that problem, either.Remember the Summit Housing Authority? It, too, is held together by tenuous finances. It went without a director for almost a year and a half.It built, with great assistance from the town of Breckenridge, the Gibson Heights locals neighborhood. It was a rough ride, but the project is finished and the overall good cannot be denied.It lost a ballot question last year on a small sales tax that would have given it a guaranteed income of $400,000, not enough to build anything but enough to survive, manage housing programs and attempt to do better.Some say it lost because it asked for too little to do any good. Others say it was the economy. Local governments and the ski areas threw the housing authority another lifeline last year, agreeing to contribute about $177,000 a year and vowing to work on long-term financing.It was welcome news that the housing authority board hired Bonnie Osborn as its new executive director. Her No. 1 job is to solve, in concert with local elected officials and voters, the long-term financing question.Summit County still has a need for affordable housing for people earning less than 80 percent of the household average median income. For a family of four, that would be about $58,000.The Summit is a better place when its worker bees can live where they work and play.


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