Unintended consequences | AspenTimes.com

Unintended consequences

Dear Editor:Aspen tends to be a town full of unintended consequences. We make decisions because they “feel good” at the time and then realize that we just shot ourselves in the foot.There are a few assumptions in Tim Semarau’s housing plan that may not hold true. The first fallacy is that the housing tax will always exist. A little like thinking that daddy’s allowance is a given, in perpetuity. The second assumption is that anyone in affordable housing has thousands of dollars just lying around to spend fixing his or her unit. We would be better served by setting aside some of the money to create a grant fund to upgrade older units and make them more energy efficient. The newest capital improvements policy allows 10 percent upgrades for each new owner and any upgrade that is energy efficient or relates to health and safety can be done, over and above the improvement cap.The increase in appreciation sounds like a good idea except when you realize that in 10 years they will not be affordable to anyone that actually works for a living, and there is no guarantee money would be available to buy them down. When the North 40 was proposed, the developers stated that we would never see a million-dollar house there, because the lots were small. Mick was the one person that actually voiced his concerns in the public meetings about future prices. Does anyone remember the North 40 house that was recently listed for over $1.3 million dollars?When category 2 and 3 units go to a lottery, we usually have 60 to 100 names on the list, for an RO, Tim’s baby. We have had constant requests to allow sales to residents that just arrived in town, because no current residents can afford it. Tim and several letter writers have alluded to the fact that Tim was responsible for the push to reorganize the housing office, I agree. That is a perfect example of unintended consequences. We now have a housing office that is completely in the employ of the city of Aspen.Many people assume that the housing fund, like the Wheeler tax or the Kid’s First tax, has citizen oversight by the Housing Authority Board. Guess again! The City Council has sole control over the fund, and projects by the city do not go to the housing board anymore for comment, even though every developer in town has that requirement. I do not always agree with Mick, but I always know where he stands on an issue and he has no problem saying NO when necessary, even in the face of threats and recall. I also believe that he would spend my tax dollars for the greater good, not just the easy way out. Would some of the over 400 residents who did not win the Stillwater or Burlingame lotteries call Tim and tell him 279 more units is not even close!Marcia L. GoshornAspen

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