Newsletter Excerpt (July 26, 2020) – Affordable Housing Millage Special Session

Jul 26, 2020 | City Council

The following was originally published as part of my July 26, 2020 Newsletter

This is an abbreviated version of my usual newsletter, due to a SPECIAL SESSION tomorrow night (Monday, July 27th). We have only one item on the agenda: the Affordable Housing Millage from last week’s meeting. That item was added to our agenda too late for my colleagues to submit questions about it, so tomorrow’s meeting will be the opportunity to answer questions and finalize the ballot language.

I wrote about this millage previously:

Since my last newsletter, I have gotten significant feedback from residents offering both support and sharing concerns. I am a sponsor of this proposal so obviously I see the value in putting it on the ballot for voters to decide in a large participation election. I believe that everyone in our community understands the value of funding housing and support for people who cannot afford a place to live. No one needs to be persuaded that there are housing needs and that funding would help us address them. Where it gets sticky is when we talk about the impact of increasing local taxes that are already very high and which (for some) represent a significant portion of housing costs.

I have heard from residents who are living on the edge of affordability in our town: they can barely afford to rent an apartment here and they see how adding a tax will simply translate into increased rent. It is true that many people in this town can easily afford to pay this tax. It is true that people with minimal or very low incomes will be helped by this tax. However, it is also true that some people with lower incomes will feel the burden of this tax and not see any help from it. That is precisely the conversation and debate that I expect to happen tomorrow night at Council. It is also the debate I expect that our community should be having between now and November.

I look forward to discussion among my colleagues at our meeting. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to engage in this issue thoughtfully!