The Aspen Pitkin County Housing Program is funded by…
City of Aspen: 1% real estate transfer tax (RETT) and 45% of the City’s 0.45% sales tax.
Pitkin County: Employee Housing Impact Fee paid by developers of commercial and residential properties based on the number of employees their projects generate.
The City of Aspen has allotted $85 million in subsidies alone for the Burlingame housing project; having spent almost $70 million so far. After Burlingame is paid for, City staff have projected that their Housing Development Fund will have $41 million by 2022 with no new projects currently planned. The City also has a fund just for providing housing to its own (City govt.) employees which is $3.9 million additional for 2014.
Pitkin County’s housing funds come from mitigation fees paid by developers. County funds may only be used to build or buy property. In April 2012, Pitkin County had accumulated $10 million in housing funds, but had nowhere to spend it. This Aspen Times article indicates that the County wanted to spend some of its revenue and were considering buying down the sales prices of unsold affordable properties that were priced too high for the market; and using a real estate agent to find properties in Basalt, 20 miles from downtown Aspen putting commuter cars on the highway and defeating the purpose of not splintering the upvalley community.
To date, Centennial Condominiums, 92 affordable homes a short walk from downtown Aspen in an ideal location that will never be available again was built and paid for ENTIRELY with private funds and handed to the Aspen and Pitkin County housing program with NO PUBLIC SUBSIDY or a single housing fund dollar spent.
$3-$4 million will keep Centennial as the community asset it is for the long-term. No loan options are available to these affordable housing owners. Refinancing 92 individual condos is implausible. If they were, the financial burden would remove any illusion of affordability. Our Government regulates, profits from, and controls every sale of these properties. They have the money to invest and are able to recoup its investment through future sales.
Please read this recent Aspen Daily news article detailing another housing fund windfall with no productive outlet
Currently, Centennial owners pay the highest monthly dues in the program, are forced to pay $60,000-$90,000 per year for emergency repairs, after having paid nearly $1 million trying to correct inherent design flaws and construction defects. City and County staff would like only the current 92 owners to fund a $3-$4 million reconstruction project without any increase in resale value so that APCHA can continue to collect commissions when they sell these condos to future owners who will receive a much improved product at no additional cost.