County may subsidize fees

Proposal would apply to affordable-housing developers

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Affordable housing in Routt County could soon become a cheaper option for developers.

As soon as this summer, the Routt County Board of Commissioners may begin using county money to subsidize a percentage of building and planning fees charged to developers of affordable-housing units.

During a meeting Monday in the Routt County Courthouse annex, commissioners and county officials discussed amending an affordable-housing resolution to allow for the payments, which could begin this year with the approval of a supplemental budget.

Commissioners Doug Mon-ger and Nancy Stahoviak said adding between $15,000 and $20,000 to the 2006 budget approved in November could make a significant difference in costs for developments such as Red Hawk Village in Stagecoach, which has deed-restricted eight of its 29 units and could benefit from county subsidies.

"I think we need to get something in place so Red Hawk Village can benefit from this," Stahoviak said.

According to the proposal, Routt County would subsidize as much as 75 percent of a developer's building and planning fees -- and could waive the county's building-use tax -- according to the amount of deed restrictions agreed to by a developer.

For a deed-restricted, 2,400-square-foot home -- likely containing three or four bedrooms -- taxes and fees can total more than $3,300, according to documents provided by county building official Carl Dunham.

Monger said the amount of money for subsidies potentially set aside by the county needs to be carefully determined.

"It all comes down to money," Monger said. "We don't have an open-ended checkbook. We need to figure out how much money Routt County is willing to give to assist in the affordable housing arena."

Routt County already has $60,000 in its 2006 budget to help the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, Monger said. A supplemental budget for subsidies could mean the county would spend as much as $80,000 on affordable housing assistance this year.

Commissioners directed Dun-ham and county finance director Dan Strnad to finalize the subsidy proposal for discussion at an upcoming meeting.

Stahoviak said commissioners could act on the proposal May 9.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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