Fraser continues service fee discussion for workforce housing
Concerns about the water and wastewater fund tabled the Fraser town board’s discussions about reducing service fees for a workforce housing project.
On Wednesday, the board heard a presentation from staff about what various reductions in service fees for multi-family units would look like, showing a grim picture for the town’s water and wastewater funds.
According to Fraser’s Finance Director Beth Williams, the water and wastewater funds rely solely on service fees for revenue and a reduction would result in budget cuts.
“It averaged out to be a 67% reduction … in both the water and wastewater fund,” Williams said of her calculations regarding apartment complexes in town. “If that were to occur, immediately the water fund would be in the red next year.”
Williams had multiple projections to share with the board based on the amount of the reduction and which units would qualify.
Discussions regarding reducing service fees for multi-family or workforce housing started at the last board meeting when developer Clark Lipscomb requested a 67% reduction in service fees for his low-income housing project the Mill Avenue Apartments.
Some board members, including Parnell Quinn and Ryan Barwick, felt Lipscomb’s request could be addressed without making policy changes about service fees, while other board members, such as Andy Miller, Katie Soles and Eileen Waldow, raised concerns about granting the request for a single project.
After hearing the impact to water and wastewater funds, the majority of the board didn’t feel that granting service fee reductions is the right way to incentivize workforce housing for one project or many.
Miller instead proposed supporting the Mill Ave project with money from the general fund to help make sure the project happens without hurting self-sufficient funds.
“I would think this project is worth a $750,000 investment from the town of Fraser, if it comes down to that, I’m just saying it can’t come out of the water and wastewater funds because we don’t have the money there,” Miller said.
Other board members showed varying support for the idea, so discussions about if and how the town will further aid the Mill Ave Apartments were continued.
In other business:
• The board approved a liquor license transfer from the Crooked Creek Saloon to Fisher’s Bar, which will be managed by Ted and Kaydee Fisher, who own Sharkys.
• The 2021 budget, along with supporting resolutions, such as levying property taxes, appropriating funds and summarizing funds, were approved.
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