Friday, May 12, 2006

Housing board charts money needs

Quail Creek subdivision could stall on appeal


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

While housing developments are proposed, started—or appealed by neighbors—one organization that counts on those projects for funding has to adjust their numbers accordingly.

The board of the Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority and its executive director, Michael David, met Thursday, May 11, in the first of several special meetings on finances and the budget.

The entity's preliminary budget for fiscal year 2006-2007 is $300,000 in expenses and $300,000 in revenue.

Approximately two-thirds of the expenses go to payroll and include a $30,000 request for an additional full-time staffer as an office manager/compliance officer.

The projected revenue includes $177,000 from the first of two phases of the Quail Creek subdivision project, south of Ketchum along state Highway 75.

That pending development, with 87 market-rate units and 39 deed-restricted affordable housing units, would supply approximately 50 percent of the Housing Authority's budget next year.

County commissioners approved the plan in March, but an appeal of the project was filed this week.

"Quail Creek is the giant question mark," David said. "It's in the too-early-to-count-on category."

The total amount the authority hopes to generate from deed-restricted home sales in the Quail Creek subdivision is estimated at $215,000.

Revenue projections for the next fiscal year include new projects in the works and resale of existing units.

"The financials are so highly dependent on revenue projections," said board member Michael Roos.

Because so much of the Housing Authority's projected funding will come in later in the fiscal year as projects are built—but expenses are evenly spread out from month to month—the board is crafting funding requests to municipalities and the county before they set their budgets later this summer.

"I'm hearing from the big players, that they'd help us with the (operating) deficits," said board member Virginia Egger.

David said he projects the authority will break even at the end of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

"Coming out at zero is about where we always come out," David said after the meeting. "We're a nonprofit organization."

Any surplus would be rolled over into operational reserves, he said.

"For me, that's a little close for comfort," Egger said.

Board members also discussed how and when to pay back a $100,000 sum borrowed from the Ketchum housing fund, and the procedure of letting the city of Ketchum keep another $330,000 sum so it can work on development projects—a task the Housing Authority is not set up to do.

Developers who have projects in Ketchum and choose to pay in-lieu fees give a check to Ketchum. That money is split into two checks, with 10 percent going to the Housing Authority's general fund and 90 percent going to the authority's Ketchum fund.

"We don't believe the Housing Authority is going to be the development arm for the city of Ketchum," Mayor Randy Hall said by phone after the meeting. "We want to do a project ourselves at Sixth and Leadville."

The city is creating a community development corporation to help develop affordable housing.

Hall said the city's plan is to develop deed-restricted housing and contract with the Housing Authority to oversee the application process and manage properties.

"The Housing Authority is not going to do anything to stand in the way of that," David said. "We would love to be involved in that capacity, or in any capacity."

The next board meeting is scheduled for May 23.




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