On May 21 the Work Force Housing Task Force (Task Force) will present its recommendations to the City Council. The Task Force was convened in January 2012 to study the future of affordable housing in Longmont in light of the Council’s repeal of the inclusionary zoning program. In addition to lengthy meetings, the Task Force also conducted public outreach in the form of open house meetings and public surveys. The question is, what did all of this work accomplish?
A Task Force memo states that its first recommendation is to “Contribute to the existing self-sustaining revolving trust fund; (a) an annual allocation target of $1,000,000 per year; (b) an additional principal of $10,000,000 to be used as seed investment in the development, acquisition, and re-development of the ongoing creation of diverse housing options and the revitalization of areas within Longmont.” In addition to leveraging local funds and grants, the Task suggests a new funding mechanism: either a new tax (sales or property) or a new allocation from the general fund. However, none of these recommendations received unanimous support from Task Force members. Some felt these recommendations went too far in supporting public subsidies for housing and others felt the recommendations did not go far enough.
The Task Force will present its recommendations accompanied by a lengthy minority report that illustrates the divide and dilutes the recommendations to the point that the Council is not receiving any clear direction. Council members have stated privately that they will not support any recommendations that involve general fund money or the reintroduction of inclusionary zoning.