Summit County Government

Posted on: November 10, 2016

Summit Voters Approve Construction Fund for Locals’ Housing

Countywide sales tax to fund construction of affordable housing units for local workers and families

Contacts:
Nicole Bleriot, Interim Director, SCHA
970-668-4231, nicole.bleriot@summitcountyco.gov
Commissioner Thomas Davidson, SCHA Board Chair
970-333-9817, thomas.davidson@summitcountyco.gov

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County voters have approved the creation of a construction fund for affordable housing, to be collected through a 0.6-percent countywide sales tax. Ballot Measure 5A passed by a comfortable margin, with 57.2 percent in favor and 42.8 percent against.

“The shortage of affordable workforce housing in our community has grown increasingly dire in recent years,” Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Summit County voters, who told us loud and clear that this is a problem we must tackle head on.”

The measure is projected to raise about $7.8 million per year over its 10-year lifespan. The sales tax, which will not apply to groceries, will be collected by the Summit Combined Housing Authority. SCHA will then distribute the funds to the County and local municipalities for housing construction projects. Sites for such projects include Lake Hill near Frisco, Wintergreen in Keystone, Smith Ranch in Silverthorne and Block 11 in Breckenridge, among other parcels.

“One of the reasons I’m so proud to live in Summit County is the way people here come together to support one another in the face of a challenge,” Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. “Our community has once again rallied together to preserve our sense of community and unique quality of life – because that’s what’s really at stake here in this severe housing crunch we’re facing.”

The most recent needs assessment of the local housing market, published in August, identified a need for about 1,700 additional housing units through 2020 for the Summit County workforce. The shortage of affordable housing has grown in recent years, as the economy has rebounded and demand for second homes has shot up, placing further upward pressure on housing prices and rental rates.

Additional pressure has come from an increasing shift of long-term rental units to short-term rental, as the popularity of online vacation rental sites like Airbnb has ballooned. The local long-term rental market has become especially tight, sending employers and workers scrambling to find stop-gap solutions for housing. Strains on the local workforce’s ability to afford housing are compounded by high costs of health insurance and child care.

“The passage of the affordable housing construction fund puts us in a much stronger position to get units built in Summit County,” Silverthorne Mayor Bruce Butler said. “And that, in turn, better positions us to maintain a strong local economy and a sustainable community – one in which people can afford to live where they work, put down roots, raise their families and be part of the fabric of Summit County.”

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