Hayden to keep talking about housing authority

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— Despite reservations, the Hayden Town Board gave tentative approval Thursday to joining Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs in further discussing a multi-jurisdictional housing authority.

Trustees offered objections to the plan that might provide more affordable housing throughout the Yampa Valley, but agreed they should stick with the dialogue a while longer before making a definite decision.

"If we were to stick our heads in the sand and hope for the best, I'd think we'd lose," Trustee Ken Gibbon said.

Routt County commissioners and Steamboat Springs city councilmen outlined how a housing authority could offer more affordable housing to residents who live within the authority's district.

The presentation in Hayden followed meetings in Yampa and Oak Creek, which extended similar invitations for the town boards to participate in discussing the possibility of a housing authority in the Yampa Valley. Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs wanted to ascertain other communities' interest before pursuing the idea, Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

Neither entity intends to force the idea on any of the smaller towns, she added. "What we're doing is inviting you to participate if you feel that is appropriate."

Trustees questioned the need to unduly burden Hayden taxpayers.

A multi-jurisdictional housing authority would be able to impose taxes and issue tax-exempt revenue bonds and use the revenue to create affordable housing options.

Any tax increase, however, would require the approval of voters who live within the authority's district boundaries.

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