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Commissioner removed from housing board

Tamara MillerVail Correspondent

Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi and another member were kicked off a housing board Tuesday over a $200,000 grant made to developers of Avon’s Buffalo Ridge apartment complex.Commissioners Tom Stone and Michael Gallagher said the Lake Creek Affordable Housing Board should have turned down Corum Development’s request for funds to help out with the Avon apartment complex’s building costs. Nevertheless, Menconi approved the grant and in doing so, did not represent the board’s opinion on the matter, Stone said.”My view is that when a commissioner is appointed as [the county’s representative] on a review board that the commissioner should yield his own personal feelings to a decision of the county commissioners,” Stone said. Menconi, who was absent from Tuesday’s vote, and board member Rob LeVine were replaced by Stone and local banker Kevin Brubeck. Menconi, who was reached by phone about the decision, said he missed Tuesday’s meeting because he was attending a conference in Grand Junction. He still supports making the grant, he said.”I voted to represent the people of Eagle County, not to represent what two members of the board think,” he said. The five-member housing board oversees the Lake Creek Village Apartment complex in Edwards. Eagle County endorsed the project to help the developers – also Corum Development – obtain funding.While the county has no financial obligation in the construction and operation of the project, its endorsement created, in essence, a public corporation that runs the project. As a result, one of the seats on the board is a Corum employee, and three seats on the housing board are appointed by the county commissioners. County housing director K.T. Gazunis, Stone and Brubeck now serve in those appointed positions.Buffalo Ridge was built in a similar way, except the town of Avon is the public entity that has endorsed the public corporation. The nonprofit Lake Creek housing board has about $350,000 in reserve funds earmarked to help affordable housing in the county, said Jamie Fitzgerald, a board member and Corum Development’s vice president. The board has used that money in the past to help out other projects, such as Riverview in Eagle-Vail.The decision to help out Buffalo Ridge was in line with past practices, Fitzgerald said.

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