Letter to the editor: County must provide more transparency on real estate loans | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: County must provide more transparency on real estate loans

Jack Taylor

On July 10, reporter Jenna deJong penned a fascinating story titled “Summit County continues to offer home loans to staff amid workforce shortage.” I’m writing this because my name appeared in that story as someone who has a problem with the county government providing real estate loans to staff. To be clear, I have no problem with the county providing down payment assistance to regular, full-time staff in the current program. There are clear guidelines governing that program, one of which is that there is a $30,000 cap to the assistance allowed any individual.

In the story, County Manager Scott Vargo alleged that there is a second “program” for senior staff, in part, for staff retention. That “program” provided more than $1.1 million to four staff members, far above the $30,000 cap per individual for down-payment assistance. In fact, it’s more than 10 times that. I don’t believe for a minute that there is a second “program” for senior staff. I do believe that special arrangements were made to provide real estate loans to a handful of senior staff, and I think that’s a problem.

Finally, the story states that Eagle, Pitkin and Grand counties have similar programs. While they may have down-payment assistance programs, none of them are providing full-blown real estate loans to senior staff. Summit County, however, did just that while declining to provide promised road maintenance in the county due to “budget constraints.” It’s time for some of that promised transparency, I think.

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