Housing Stability Program
The administration, as I have mentioned previously, is proposing using existing and some potentially new money, to assist city residents in retaining housing through this economic downturn. Much of this money would be repurposed to assist in these rent relief and mortgage support efforts. I am generally supportive of this, but our council discussions focused on the proposal to use some Housing Trust Fund money that we typically use to loan for affordable housing and then repaid to the city to keep using. Thus, it is renewed for ongoing use. The concern from council members was using this for a non-loan and therefore potentially depleting it. We hope that we could replace this money with federal COVID funds once we have more clarity about the restrictions on that funding. We supported using the funds with the expectation that the loan fund is repaid from other funds later.
Golf Enterprise Fund Budget
So much to discuss here. But I will not. The simple version is that the administration is working on plans for the department, but the general fund will need to subsidize this enterprise fund for more than $1.1 million this year. Golf can be a community benefit, but it needs to be restructured with parks and other public amenities working with it to create holistic plans for our city recreation services. I see no evidence that it can be a stand-alone enterprise fund that is self-sustaining. At least not with 6 courses and as presently structured.
Capital Infrastructure Projects
The big issue this year is that the previous mayoral administration decided to not accept constituent requests. I was never informed directly but found out when a letter was sent to citizen applicants in Dec. last year. It’s a long story, not fit for this update. However, the current mayor reports she is committed to reforming this process going forward so its does not happen again. We still need to vote on which projects to fund and whether to follow the recommendations or revisit those on the fly right now.
Learn more about the proposed City budget here.