City will pay to make Snyder units affordable |

City will pay to make Snyder units affordable

Aspen Times Staff Report

With construction of Snyder Park already under way, city officials have agreed to subsidize the new affordable housing project to the tune of $3.3 million.

Last month, the City Council approved a $3.3 million construction budget for the 15-unit project on Aspen’s east side. But at that time, council members could not agree on how much the city should kick in to make the units affordable to residents in the lower income categories. The total cost of the project, including land and construction, will total about $4.6 million.

At a meeting Tuesday, council members continued the subsidy debate.

Arguing the money could be better utilized elsewhere, Councilman Jake Vickery pushed to decrease the subsidy, saying there was “no way” he’d support anything above $2.5 million.

On the other end of the spectrum, Councilman Terry Paulson said he was willing to approve a higher subsidy if it meant more families with lower incomes could make Snyder their future home.

Mayor John Bennett seemed to capture the sentiment of the majority of the council in noting: “No project’s perfect, but I think it’s important to get this project built.”

Ultimately, the council approved the $3.3 million subsidy unanimously with the backing of Paulson, Bennett and Councilwoman Rachel Richards. Vickery left the meeting before the vote was taken.

However, if construction costs stay within budget projections, there may be another opportunity to either cut the subsidy or the reduce the unit sale prices, said Lee Novak, project manager for the Housing Authority.

The final numbers depend on how much of Snyder’s 15 percent – or $107,977 – contingency allotment is spent on unforeseen construction costs, he said.

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