The Yampa Valley Housing Authority voted Thursday to not seek a property tax that could have generated $395,000 annually for the organization. The Housing Authority also changed the listing price for their undeveloped Elk River Village property, pictured above, from $2 million to $1.5 million.

Photo by Scott Franz

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority voted Thursday to not seek a property tax that could have generated $395,000 annually for the organization. The Housing Authority also changed the listing price for their undeveloped Elk River Village property, pictured above, from $2 million to $1.5 million.

Yampa Valley Housing Authority won't seek property tax

Poor economy, lack of support cause board members to drop ballot question

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— The Yampa Valley Housing Authority voted today to abandon a ballot question asking voters to approve a property tax that would have raised about $395,000 annually for the organization.

The board voted 7-0, with four members absent, to not move forward with the proposal and said that a poor economic climate and a lack of community support for the tax caused them to drop the ballot issue.

“The economy has not started to turn around at the rate we thought it would when we first discussed the ballot issue,” board member Catherine Carson said. “That makes it difficult for it to pass.”

The board voted in January to seek the property tax, which the Housing Authority said would have made it less reliant on payments from the city and county, who together provided $168,000 to the group this fiscal year.

Carson said the Housing Authority also needed to identify a solution for its undeveloped Elk River Village property and its related debt before pursuing additional revenue. Board members have previously said that their proposed property tax would not be used to cover the debt from the property in West Steamboat Springs.

The Housing Authority bought the land near U.S. Highway 40 and Routt County Road 129 in 2006 and makes payments annually of about $110,000 to cover the interest on a $2 million loan. The village was approved as a private-sector neighborhood of small, single-family homes.

Housing Authority Asset/Program Manager Mary Alice Page-Allen said it was time to get the property off YVHA’s balance sheet.

At her recommendation, the board agreed to reduce the property’s listing price from $2.03 million to $1.5 million, the value of its most recent appraisal, and advertise it as a short sale.

“We’re not going to close the door on anything,” she said. “But I would hate to see this go in a direction where it ends up being a black eye for our organization.”

Carson said any reasonable offer for the property should be seriously considered.

“The challenge is that this is a good piece of property. It is a very viable piece of property,” she said. “However, you have to have deep pockets to hold onto an asset, and we do not have deep pockets.”

Strengthening communication

After voting to abandon the property tax proposal, board members discussed the need to strengthen their presence in the community over the next year by better communicating YVHA’s services to the public.

“We’re going to continue to be looking to the city and the county to assist us,” Page-Allen said. “It’s clear we need to work on our communication with the community.”

At today’s meeting, board members voted to commit to an informational campaign about affordable housing and how the organization serves the Yampa Valley.

“We’ve done a lot on a very small budget, and one thing we found when we were gauging support for the property tax is that the community has not realized this,” Carson said. “We have not as a board shared our available services and accomplishments with the public so that even supporters of a tax increase realize what we do.”

Pilot & Today reporter Tom Ross contributed to this story.

— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email ScottFranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

spidermite 3 years ago

If you have a two million dollar loan on a property and you list said property for one and a half million this doesn't sound reasonable. Who is suspose to absorbe the loss? Was a lower balance negotiated ?

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kathy foos 3 years ago

A little bit like land speculating?..........What we need and have always needed is low income housing.Hillside is the only thing available.That is pathetic and many disabled need housing,let alone the homeless.They are just out of luck unless one of the generous churches help them out.I think if you ever achieve low income housing,please let the local use it since public money is used,no visa workers .If these employers want to stick their necks out and hire visa workers over unemployed Routt county citizens,they should set up their own housing since they know it all and want to manipulate the system to their own benefit,don't let them use our public money's to do so.If the unemployed numbers start going down and county taxpayers get back to work,then someone should give them permission to bring in a monitored amount of visa workers.Don't let these employers play with our quality of life by hiring visa workers over residents.I don't think the authority has a clue what to do to help our Valley get low income housing.Why after all of this time are they sitting with this expensive property(loosing money on it also),when they could just subsidized rents at least,something to help the poor in this county with housing.If you cant manage to build it,get into and area where your goal can be achieved and poor or low income can get some housing..

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bubba 3 years ago

So they have $168,000 in annual funding from the city and county taxpayers, of which $110,000 goes to pay interest on a $2,000,000 loan on a vacant property which is worth 3/4 of that at best. They're right, they better do something before that 'becomes' a black eye for their organization.

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sledneck 3 years ago

Collecting your hard-earned money at gunpoint only to hand the lions share of it over to bankers... brilliant! And subsidizing rent for people who have not done the necessary work to exist here is even worse. EVEN WORSE. I don't have the money to live in Hollywood so someone should be forced to subsidize my shortcommings so I can live there?? Hardly! How about subsidizing the taxpayers by shuting this fiasco down for good.

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Scott Wedel 3 years ago

I think they also have some minimal positive cash flow from their other properties.

BTW, YVHA it'd be real helpful to explain to the public how you manage your other properties. I have spoken with one of your board members for over 15 minutes a while back and I still cannot figure out if Hillside apartments generate minimum cash flow because that is YVHA policy or the economic situation. It is important because strong housing associations are not afraid of making money from their properties. It is expected to have programs based upon income that adjust the person's rent, but otherwise rent should be about free market rates. So if units are occupied by people not needing assistance then those people should be paying about market rent and thus since SB rents are higher than when building was bought then there could be some serious cash flow.

I get the sense that rent there is a great deal for those that got in some time in the past and even despite the current hard times are doing well enough to not qualify for income assistance. And that is because it appears YVHA has a policy that the property should be about cash flow neutral.

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