Housing Authority denied funding

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs denied a Routt County grant request that would help fund the local housing authority.

But the department did increase grant funding for two city and county capital projects, which would free up money that the two entities could put toward the newly formed Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

Last week, the Department of Local Affairs announced its most recent Energy Impact Grants. The county's $159,000 request to help cover the housing authority's administrative costs was not on the list.

The Department of Local Affairs decided not to fund requests that would cover operational expenses, said Department Public Information Officer Linda Rice, but "we were able to fund other projects in the community that will basically help free up resources for the housing authority," Rice said.

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, who also is the vice president of the housing authority, said the county would receive more funding for its water and sewer line extensions at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, which was awarded an Energy Impact Grant in 2003.

The city would receive additional funding for its renovation of the public safety building, which was awarded an Energy Impact Grant in the most recent round of requests.

The additional money given to the county and city should be equal to the amount of funding the county requested for the housing authority, Stahoviak said.

"I am pleased to work something out with the state to fund the multijurisdictional housing authority," Stahoviak said.

The Energy Impact Grant funding was a critical component to the formation of the housing authority, which will provide affordable housing programs to residents with low to moderate incomes. The city and county had hoped the grant would cover 30 percent of the administrative costs, with the city and county contributing $290,000 to the authority during the next three years.

Housing Authority President Kathi Meyer said the money requested in the Energy Impact Grant would have been used to pay for staffing, office space and legal fees.

The housing authority's request was the only project out of the five submitted by Routt County entities that the Department of Local Affairs denied to fund. A local prioritization team ranked the project third out of the five requests.

Stahoviak sits on the state board that recommends to the Department of Local Affairs which projects should receive funding.

"I was surprised that it got denied, because those types of administrative grants have been granted in the past," Stahoviak said.

Stahoviak said there has been a shift in the department's policy on funding capital projects instead of programs.

"This isn't the kind of project the state likes to fund. The department likes to fund projects that leave a visible lasting impression," Stahoviak said.

Managed by the Department of Local Affairs, the Energy Impact Fund is built with severance taxes on coalmines and other mineral extractors and the state's share of royalties paid to the federal government for extracting minerals on federal land.

The fund is meant to help communities mitigate the impacts of mineral extraction through improvements to basic public facilities and infrastructure.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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