Housing Authority looks to de-Bruce

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The Yampa Valley Housing Authority will ask voters to exempt the affordable housing agency from a portion of the TABOR amendment.

On November's ballot, voters will be asked whether the Housing Authority can accept grants, gifts and other revenue sources collected during 2005 and every year after without the limits of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

The ballot question would not increase or add any taxes.

Yampa Valley Housing Auth--ority Director Elizabeth Black said the ballot question is a formality that would allow the authority to keep unexpected grant and gift monies it did not budget for in the previous year.

Without the voters' approval to change TABOR, the Housing Authority would have to return those monies, which would go back to the donator of the gift or the granting agency.

The change also would allow the Housing Authority to retain reserves.

In 1992, Colorado voters approved TABOR, which limits the revenue growth of state and local governments and requires voters to approve any tax increase for state or local governments.

Ballot questions that ask voters whether governments can keep or use all or part of the revenue collected in excess of the TABOR limits are know as de-Brucing measures. The term comes from Douglas Bruce, the author of the TABOR amendment.

"Many governmental entities throughout the state have had de-Brucing elections," Black said.

Earlier this month, the Housing Authority's board of directors approved the ballot language to de-Bruce. The authority was formed in early 2004 and is composed of a variety of community members. The nonprofit Regional Affordable Living Foundation was the authority's predecessor and initiated the West End Village Project.

The authority's mission is to finance, construct and manage housing projects and programs. Those projects and programs are intended to help families with low or moderate incomes and employees within the jurisdiction of the authority.

The authority has overseen two self-help housing programs in Hayden and Oak Creek. This summer, it is working to build 30 townhomes in Fox Creek Village, which is off Hilltop Parkway. The project will provide 30 deed-restricted, affordable-housing units.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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