I am outraged about the article in Saturday's paper about the concert. The only thing I feel was reported correctly was how many arrests were made and how frustrating it was for our law enforcement. When it comes to local businesses, why don't you interview Safeway and City Market and what they had to deal with (shoplifting, paying for extra security), ask the four old ladies who were standing on the street corner that had ice balls thrown at them, ask merchants in Ski Time Square who had to deal with the crowd after the concert on Wednesday night? If the city and the chamber are so concerned about "summer tourism" and along with Great Knight Productions think music festivals bring in the tourists and the "bucks," then bring back West Fest and family-orientated concerts you are guaranteed to at least have happier locals and businesses that really do make some money. So I am confused, why did the city bring String Cheese back? Did they not learn anything from the first time they came here?
Leave pledge alone
In regard to Robert Baker's letter in the July 7 Steamboat Pilot & Today:
No one is forced to say the "Pledge of Allegiance." However, it is necessary to use U.S. currency that states "In God We Trust." So what's the problem? Leave the "Pledge of Allegiance" as is.
Mrs. Natalie Stanko
Work on housing plan
While visiting my parents this week in Steamboat, I was shocked to read the outcome of the discussions about a local housing authority. It is very unfortunate that the community and decision-makers either misunderstood or were mislead about the functions of a local housing authority.
State-enabling legislation allows local bodies of government to form housing authorities to create and ensure permanent affordability of housing. Housing authorities administer a variety of federal housing programs, including public housing, rental-assistance programs and family self-sufficiency programs. None of these require any type of local match. At this very moment, a housing authority in Steamboat could be applying to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for rental vouchers for disabled individuals and families. The subsidy would come from HUD and flow to local private landlords on behalf of those families. The only money coming out of local residents' pockets would be what is already being paid in federal taxes.
There are currently 91 housing authorities in Colorado. The vast majority of these communities do not collect any type of local tax revenue. They receive federal subsidies and take advantage of creative financing techniques not available to local non-profits like RALF. Housing authorities can issue tax-exempt debt in the form of mortgages or tax-exempt bonds and repay that debt through rents collected or the sale proceeds from home for first-time homebuyers.
Last week, the Fort Collins Housing Authority purchased a 95-unit apartment complex to maintain permanent affordability. A local bank lent the money to the housing authority at a 20-year tax-exempt fixed rate of 5.1 percent. The bank helped satisfy its own federal Community Reinvestment Act requirement and the housing authority is able to preserve affordable housing for 95 families.
Housing authorities often work in conjunction with local nonprofits like RALF and together are able to help meet the housing needs of their community's entry-level working families or elderly/disabled individuals. I believe it is a shame that this community was so quick to "put this issue on the backburner and perhaps reconsider it at some future date." It seems to me that there has been a great lack of information about the potential benefits of a local housing authority in Steamboat and the surrounding communities, and that is very unfortunate to the community as a whole.
Former Steamboat resident
Fort Collins Housing Authority executive director