Fraser tables discussion of decreased service fees for deed restricted housing
Amid budget talks for next year, the Fraser Board of Trustees continued a question about lowering service fees for a new affordable housing project outside town.
On Wednesday, Fraser’s board discussed a request from developer Clark Lipscomb to lower service fees for his Low Income Housing project known as the Mill Ave apartments. Originally, the request had been shared with the town’s budget committee to determine the impacts to the town’s water fund.
The budget committee calculated the annual service fees for two potential reductions, a 50% decrease in fees and a 67% decrease in fees. The town would typically charge $76,692 for the project, making a 50% cut $38,346 and a 67% reduction $25,000.
However, when the numbers were in front of the board, many trustees raised concerns about the implications of granting the reduction to one project and how that could impact the town’s policy.
“There are some big policy questions that I don’t think are appropriate for us to solidify with this budget,” Trustee Katie Soles said.
Other trustees felt approving lower service fees didn’t need to wait if the board kept its decision narrow, to only include new deed restricted construction.
“If we want projects like this to go forward, especially deed restricted, we need to decide on how we incentivize it and those come with real world dollar impacts to the town,” Trustee Ryan Barwick said. “We can shape this however we want.”
A split 4-3 vote led to the discussion being continued to the Dec. 2 meeting.
Lipscomb shared his frustration in the board’s decision, questioning why the town was holding up an affordable housing project when trustees have voiced support for those kinds of projects.
“Why should a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment pay the same quarterly service fees as the biggest home in town,” he asked. “Do you really want housing?”
With the service fee change tabled, the board discussed the remainder of the budget without making huge changes.
Trustees want to increase the deed restricted housing fund to $750,000, as well as funding for street improvements and water and wastewater projects. A big focus of the 2021 budget is building up the town’s reserve funds.
The final budget hearing will be on Dec. 2.
In other business:
• The board issued notices of default to both Rendezvous and Grand Park for missing paperwork deadlines related to their respective annexation agreements. Rendezvous needs to convey land to the town, while Grand Park needs to file its annual attainable housing audit. The developments have 30 days to resolve the issues.
• An easement for a residential property on Discovery Lane was approved. The easement will allow the homeowners to rebuild their driveway to be more accessible.
• The town launched its search for an interim town manager after Town Manager Jeff Durbin announced his resignation. Fraser is working with Northwest Colorado Council of Governments to conduct the search and applications will be due by Nov. 30 so that the town can choose finalists in early December and have a final decision by Dec. 17. The interim town manager would start in January and contract for six months while the town conducts a search for a permanent manager.
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