Housing office seeks modest budget increase for next year
Despite an ambitious goal to add some 700 units to the local affordable housing inventory, the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority is seeking only a modest hike in its administrative budget for 2000.
Housing Director Mary Roberts presented the housing office budget request to city and county elected officials at a joint work session Tuesday.
In August, city and county officials set a joint goal of either constructing or approving 700 new affordable housing units in two years. Since then, 100 units have been approved with the seasonal Burlingame project, leaving 600 units to go in six separate projects.
That expedited goal is a significant departure from the recent yearly average of 50 new units. But most of the additional expense for the intensive housing push will be billed through each specific project, so the city and county won’t be forced to come up with huge infusions from their general budgets, said Roberts.
“This year’s budget is not much different from past budgets,” she said. “Each future project will be responsible for the expense it generates. It won’t be felt by the general fund from the city and county.”
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Each year, the city and county share the administrative and operating expenses incurred by the Housing Authority.
For the past four years, the housing budget has remained static at about $213,128. However, next year, the housing office is seeking an additional $11,510 from both city and county governments for an administrative budget of $236,148.
“With all the projects moving forward, I think this increase is in order,” said City Councilman Tom McCabe.
According to Roberts, the housing office is anticipating the need for six or seven new staff members to push through the expedited housing goal. But the salaries for a senior project manager, three additional project managers, and possibly an assistant project manager, will principally be billed to individual projects, she said.
In coming weeks, decisions will be made about whether the new positions are filled with full-time employees or through contracts with the private sector, Roberts said.
The housing board and Roberts have already agreed a new assistant director and a senior project manager are needed on staff, and both positions are currently being advertised.
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After 14 years, a lengthy lawsuit by area residents and nearly $4 million in construction costs, a half-mile trail to two school campuses in the Castle Creek Valley was finally completed this week.