A public hearing on a multi-jurisdictional housing authority has been pushed back a month.
The city and county had planned to gather feedback on their housing-authority proposal during a June 9 meeting. But at Tuesday's joint meeting, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak asked that the meeting be postponed.
"We need a little more time to get the information out to the community," Stahoviak said.
The City Council and county commissioners agreed to an extra month, rescheduling the hearing for July 7.
Since the start of the year, a steering committee has been meeting to put a housing authority in place; the two governments have been discussing the possibility of forming a housing authority for well over a year.
Stahoviak said there is hope to have a housing authority in place by next year.
The steering committee, which combines members from the city, county, the Regional Affordable Living Foundation and a community member, has a list of recommendations for what the housing authority should entail. The commissioners and council have yet to see the committee's final draft of those recommendations.
The recommendations suggest naming the entity the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. The committee feels it should encompass an area similar to the Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District.
Stahoviak said the group decided to go with that boundary because it is an area already legally defined and was part of the influence area for affordable housing.
Last year, the town boards of Hayden, Oak Creek and Yampa turned down the offer to be part of the housing authority. However, the committee recommended leaving room for the authority's boundary to change if those towns -- or other cities or counties -- want to become a contracting jurisdiction.
The steering committee said the authority's function would be to plan; finance; construct, reconstruct or repair; maintain; manage; and operate housing projects. The housing authority could not act as a construction contractor if a private contractor is willing to do the project. The final stipulation, Stahoviak said, came at the request of the Two Plus Housing Committee, which formed in the wake of a failed 2000 affordable-housing tax initiative and was made up of supporters and opponents of the tax.
Stahoviak said the Two Plus Housing Committee felt an authority that builds projects itself would be in direct competition with the private sector and asked that the authority partner with contractors, instead. Only if the authority could not find a private contractor for a project could it take on the construction role.
Attorneys advised the committee that, under state law, housing authorities have the power to condemn property. But to do so, it would need a two-thirds majority vote and the vote from the elected official representing the jurisdiction in which the property is located.
Land could be condemned to acquire rights-of-way and easements, but Stahoviak said it is a very long and involved process that includes public hearings, appraisals and court rulings.
"It is one of the biggest concerns, but we didn't have a choice," Stahoviak said.
An authority can be formed without voter approval, but in a few years voters could be asked to support a tax that would be used to fund affordable housing and a housing authority. The city and county have made commitments to fund the authority for the next few years until that tax is passed.
"The city and county felt they were moving in the right direction," Stahoviak said. "What we need to do is put a multijurisdictional housing authority in place, ensure that the authority is up and running and gain some credibility in the community before putting it up for a ballot (question)."
The recommendations from the committee would allow the authority to ask for property taxes not exceeding 5 mills, a sales tax or use tax not exceeding 1 percent, or a development impact fee not to exceed $2 per square foot and not collected from low- or moderate-income housing developments.
After looking over the committee's recommendation and requesting a few changes, the RALF board agreed to write a letter supporting the recommendations. RALF also agreed to hand over its assets to an authority that is formed under those guidelines, Stahoviak said.
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