Dillon Town Council eyeing rental aid, lease-to-local incentives to locals to boost workforce housing

Dillon Town Council eyeing rental aid, lease-to-local incentives to locals to boost workforce housing

Dillon Town Council eyeing rental aid, lease-to-local incentives to locals to boost workforce housing

Apartments and condominiums overlooking Dillon Reservoir are pictured in April 2020 in Dillon. Discussions continue in the city about further steps to increase workforce housing.
Liz Kopan/Summit Daily News Archive

Members of Dillon Town Council discuss further steps to increase workforce housing within the city.

The city employees presented various options before the council for consideration. One would work similar to Breckenridge’s buy-down program. The town of Dillon would buy a housing unit at full price and then resell it to a member of the local workforce at a reduced rate. There will also be a deed restriction in the home to ensure it is available to the workforce.

City council members said they were more interested in buying the property and then reselling it at a reduced price, rather than renting it out to Dillon locals as their own landlords. Whether for rent or stock for sale, properties purchased by the City of Dillon will have deed restrictions such as the requirement to work at least 30 hours in Summit County.

“I think our top priority to get out of this conversation in the city is number 1, owning the property so it keeps equity and creates equity, but then we are also looking at the monthly rent subsidy required for people. There are rents,” said Mayor Carolyn Scovira.

Another option council members were interested in exploring was creating their own version of the county’s Lease to Local program, which encourages property owners to rent long-term to the local workforce rather than short-term rents to visitors. To do so, an idea would be for the city to pay the property owner 20% of the market value in exchange for a deed restriction of up to $150,000. Payment will be in a monthly stipend as long as the local workforce remains in the household.

“After an evaluation with the Joint Housing Authority, it was determined that the light deed ban was not actually meeting the goals of ensuring that that unit remained in an active workforce,” said Town Manager Nathan Johnson. “So one of the things they encouraged us to look at was that full deed ban that has an appreciation cap, a working component, and then (the city) pays them accordingly.”

Discussion Tuesday, October 18, was a continuation of previous work sessions On how to further support the expansion of access to housing in Dillon. In September, city council members split the various strategies into three options: construction, procurement and aid. Because the cost of building is still high, council members at that meeting stated that building new units would not be the best short-term solution.

According to a staff report, the city’s housing fund, or 5A fund, generates about $1 million per year with a current fund balance of about $5.5 million. 5A funding was recently extended by voters for an additional 20 years and will expire in 2046.

In June, members of the town council approved an increase in the city’s down payment assistance loan program, which allows city employees to obtain loans for home down payments. On Tuesday, the council also approved a proposal to expand access to the program to employees who are in the process of selling their existing residential properties. Staff said this would allow employees moving to the county to receive assistance and encourage them to potentially move from deed-restricted homes to the free market.

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