City’s Affordable Housing Survey Sheds Light on Possible Tax Questions

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Glenwood Springs residents favor an accommodation tax more than an admission tax to help support affordable housing solutions, according to a recent town investigation.

The survey asked, using the language of a typical Colorado ballot question, what residents thought was the city’s most pressing need and what the various affordable housing options were.

“It’s a balance between how we have real impact and get results and do it in a way where we don’t create an onerous or unfair burden. And that’s a delicate balance that we’re working on,” said Clark Anderson, director of the nonprofit Community Builders, which has volunteered to help the city.

The survey established that the availability of housing is a top priority for the city, according to the majority of respondents. Overcrowding and traffic are the highest priorities.

“Housing is a significant, if not the biggest, threat to our economy and has a wide range of impacts on our community, including being the main driver of our traffic and a huge contributor to the challenge of keeping our businesses moving because they lack the employees they need,” Anderson said.

The survey is just a tool to find different solutions that will work for the whole community, said Bill Ray, a city consultant who has worked with many cities in Colorado. He explained to the city council exactly how these tools would work to help find the best solution.

The proposed tax issues are just the first steps on the road to funding affordable housing, he said.

“Talk to your constituents and listen to their views on this,” Ray said, explaining the conversation he had with city council when they received the survey results. “As you get feedback from the business community, employers, employees, those affected by housing, your constituents and others, consider the survey results within the context of this big picture, to see if it matches what we’re hearing from the community?

He said the questions about the specific survey were more about seeing which direction the community will want to go.

“You can use all of these results to get a sense of how the community views affordable housing, and possibly have one or more polling questions to help you fund affordable housing programs,” he said.

Outside of the survey, Anderson has worked with a committee and two roundtables that include a group of community members, business members, and civic and nonprofit leaders who have been exploring the housing issue for months. affordable in Glenwood Springs.

He said they tried to assess the different options the city has for funding affordable housing.

“We’re now at a point where we’re looking at how we can create the funding needed to get real results,” Anderson said. “When we got to a point where it was clear that a program with dedicated local funding could be a key part of a local strategy that could deliver real results, we realized it was important to look where that funding might come from, and that’s what the investigation was about.

The survey found that many residents who voted were in favor of the accommodation tax, but not necessarily in favor of the head tax. The wording of the admission fee questions only stated that it was anything that involved an admission fee, but was vague on what any of this might include.

“The survey showed more support for a lodging tax,” Anderson said. “And so one thing we’re doing now is having a good dialogue with the hosting community about that, and also balancing that with the dialogue we have around the community.”

Even with increased pressure for a lodging tax, much of the hotel community and many of the Glenwood Springs business owners who have been involved are supportive of a possible price increase for their guests.

“Nobody came forward and said we didn’t need action. Nobody showed up and said it was a bad idea. Everyone wants to see solutions,” Anderson said.

Anderson and Ray urged the city to continue reaching out to the community, particularly with a focus on businesses to better understand the challenges they face with employment and maintaining their businesses.

“Businesses are a part of this puzzle, but it’s very important that we talk to the wider community,” Anderson said. “We will therefore be organizing outreach activities with the wider community in the coming weeks as well.”

Although the wording of the survey questions was written by City Attorney Karl Hanlon to read like a ballot, the city is still a long way from making a decision on what will appear on the ballot. vote for affordable housing. Anderson and Ray are working with the community and business owners to figure out what will be the best questions for residents to vote on.

“If something happens on the ballot, they want it to work, and I think they’re trying to give us feedback that informs what’s going to be politically viable,” Anderson said. “I also think they want it to succeed in the sense that it has to be effective and help deliver results.”

The ballot must be certified by September 9. The city council will have feedback at its meeting this week, as well as an update from the Glenwood Community Housing Coalition, said Jenn Ooton, deputy city manager.

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