Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Oak Creek County commissioners and Steamboat representatives will try again tonight to bring a South Routt community on board for their proposal to form a multijurisdictional housing authority in the Yampa Valley.
The Oak Creek Town Board meets at 7 p.m. to consider joining other governmental entities in a housing authority that might provide more affordable housing to residents who live within the authority's district.
The presentation follows a Feb. 6 meeting in Yampa that was met with speculation and opposition by Yampa residents, who argued a housing authority might bring low-income housing to town.
The city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County must clarify the definition of affordable housing, Oak Creek Trustee Mike Kein said.
A $200,000 house may fall within the affordable housing range in Steamboat Springs, but that price would not be affordable in Oak Creek, he said.
Kein said he wanted to learn tonight how the county and city propose to finance their proposal.
"It depends on where the money is going to come from," he said.
A multijurisdictional housing authority would be able to impose taxes and issue tax-exempt revenue bonds.
Revenue from a tax increase approved by the voters could contribute to the creation of affordable housing options in outlying communities, but taxes require the approval of voters who live within the authority's district boundaries.
Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison missed the Yampa meeting, but he will be on hand to answer questions tonight.
Ellison said he doesn't know what kind of reaction to expect from the residents of Oak Creek and their Town Board.
The county and city intend to offer the concept of the housing authority and leave the decision-making to the town, he said.
"We'll present some information and let people respond if they want to," Ellison said.
Bud Romberg, a Steamboat Springs City Councilman, said he hopes to eliminate any misconceptions about the housing authority at the board meeting.
Because recent legislation allows two or more governmental entities to create a housing authority, the county and city of Steamboat wanted to give other communities the opportunity to join, Romberg said.
"We didn't want folks to feel like they were left out," he said.
The direction town boards take after they learn about the proposal, however, remains in their hands, he said.
The city of Steamboat Springs does not wish to force the housing authority on anyone, Romberg added.
"If they want in, that is their decision," he said.
Steamboat Springs City Councilman Loui Antonucci also will attend the presentation.
The third and final meeting will be Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Hayden.