Letter: Commissioners aren’t responding quickly enough to housing crisis | SkyHiNews.com

Letter: Commissioners aren’t responding quickly enough to housing crisis

Editor’s note: Steve Skinner is running for Grand County Commissioner in the Nov. 8 general election.

On Sept. 2, Sky-Hi News published the first of the Grand County Commissioners columns called “Commissioner’s Corner,” with the goal to “educate Grand County on topics that might otherwise be difficult to dissect.”

In the first column the commissioners explained why, for years, affordable housing fees for developers have been exempted. Bottom line, over the last five years the program has raised “$4,110 in transfer fees from the Ranches at Devil’s Thumb, and $46,117.21 from Coyote Creek.” If those two developers hadn’t voluntarily paid the 0.5% transfer fee to support housing the number would be zero.

Ironically the $50,227.21 “were deposited into the Housing Authority’s General Fund to help cover the administrative costs of managing the covenants; applications for exemptions are processed and managed by the housing authority.” In other words, the little money that has been raised has been used to cover administrative costs of processing exemptions.

On the county website for the housing authority, it states: “We acquire, develop, lease, and operate affordable housing for Grand County residents with limited incomes.” Managing exemptions doesn’t sound like the best way to fulfill that mission.

Unfortunately, the covenants will not provide revenues of any consequence to the housing authority for many, many years.

We are in a housing crisis. Recent polling indicates that the majority of Grand County residents agree that immediate action is needed. The commissioners are not responding with the urgency required to make a difference.

New development gets an endless pass from contributing to our workforce housing. This is unacceptable to a lot of people in the county.

Does the Board have the ability to change this gaping exemption? In their column they said, “Until recently, Grand County’s housing authority board couldn’t require developers to provide restrictive covenants.”

Until recently? Let’s fix this now.

Steve Skinner
Hot Sulphur Springs, Candidate for Grand County Commissioner

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