Aspen’s housing authority looks to pass costs onto residents who use system
Proposed fee increases for APCHA residents
• Ownership application fee (first time and yearly update) household
• Ownership bid submission
• First-time tenant long-term rental application:
Seasonal rental application:
• Rental long-term requalification (once every two years)
• Listing fee (non-refundable portion of sales fee paid when listing home)
• Sales fee (paid at closing)
Now: 2% of sale price
Proposed: 3% of sale price
• Ownership transfer fee (transfer to immediate family member)
Proposed: 2% of sale price
• Capital improvement review and site visit
*Proposed new fees:
Ownership requalification: $50
Leave of absence: $50
Worker referral: $50
*Source: Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority
With costs continuing to increase for managing deed-restricted units in the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority inventory, officials are considering recouping some money by charging more fees to people who use the system.
Mike Kosdrosky, executive director of APCHA, proposed to the board of directors Wednesday a fee structure that would bring in an estimated $162,000 more in revenue each year.
The board of directors generally agreed with the proposed fees and will take official action as soon as its next meeting Nov. 6 with the increases coming at a later date.
“This is on our way to balancing our budget,” said APCHA board member Rick Head, adding he supports the increases, some of which double in price.
The city and county split the subsidy to cover APCHA’s operational costs, so that would be a savings of around $80,000 for each government.
Most of APCHA’s fees have remained constant over time, except in 2011 and 2012 when rental and sales application fees were increased.
“Costs for managing and operating APCHA’s almost 3,000 deed-restricted units keep going up annually,” Kosdrosky wrote in a memo to the board. “Revenues from various fees, however, remain historically low and often fail to cover the cost of managing and improving the program.”
The fee increases range from home ownership applicants paying $50 to $100 every year to upping the fee from $35 to $50 for long-term renters who have to requalify every two years.
Also on the table is increasing the 2% fee on the sale of deed-restricted homes to 3%.
Sales fees are the biggest revenue generator for APCHA. In 2018, the agency estimated that it would collect about $250,000 in fees from re-sales and about $170,000 in new home sales, according to Kosdrosky’s statements last year when he introduced the increases to the APCHA board.
New fees were never implemented as the makeup of the citizen board changed to include elected officials from the county and city.
Kosdrosky explained those governments’ subsidies are expected to increase significantly in 2020 and beyond.
This year the subsidy, which is about 34% of APCHA’s operating revenue, is $793,600. Last year the subsidy was $640,700.
Kosdrosky said he expects the county and city’s financial commitments to increase significantly in years to come. The subsidy may reach nearly $1.2 million, which is 54% of operating revenue.
That’s partly because of APCHA’s investment in a new internal management system, which will allow the agency to monitor and manage the housing inventory more effectively.
Currently, APCHA’s dated system is paper-based. The cost for the management system is budgeted at $1.4 million.
In 2017, APCHA processed over 1,400 applications for ownership, rental and seasonal units, with an average of $32 collected per person.
While that generated almost $45,000, the average cost of servicing and processing each application is significantly higher than $32 when considering all of APCHA’s fixed and variable costs, according to Kosdrosky.
For 2019, APCHA’s general administrative costs are estimated at $614,090 and the costs that the city charges for overhead of managing the department are estimated at $294,380.
As a percent of total administrative expenditures, labor makes up 68% and overhead makes up 32% of total costs, according to Kosdrosky.
APCHA staff also is proposing two new fees: a leave of absence and an emergency worker referral charge.
APCHA receives between 15 and 20 leave of absence requests a year and doesn’t charge for the service. The emergency worker fee would be charged back to any agency or department head involved in making the request for priority. Each would be $50.
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Rule breakers of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority may have to face a hearing officer and fines if they don’t come into compliance with the deed restrictions on their units.