How a 2.5% lodging tax to address Glenwood Springs housing needs came about, and where the money might go
The Glenwood Springs Community Housing Coalition has been working for seven months to create a funding mechanism for workforce housing.
In that time, the group has had many discussions and done a lot of research to come to a proposed 2.5% lodging tax that’s headed for the November ballot.
“We ended up choosing the lodging tax once we got feedback from the business owners and the business roundtable, and then we unanimously voted,” said Norma Guzmán Durán, member of the coalition. “That’s condensing a seven-month process. So there were many presentations and a lot of research. It didn’t happen overnight.”
The coalition created a survey, reached out to more than 60 local businesses, determined sources and levels of funding that might work, did additional outreach to the lodging community and ended with a community outreach meeting.
“That was a lot of effort on the part of the group to try to understand the needs of the business community and how we can design something that’s going to be responsive to our local economy and also the workforce challenges we have,” said Clark Anderson, member of the housing coalition and a longtime consultant on affordable housing projects across the region through the Glenwood Springs-based nonprofit Community Builders.
The coalition has also worked on suggestions for uses of the funding and possible strategies for developing workforce housing in Glenwood. Among them:
- Property acquisition or land banking; rehabbing existing buildings, hotels or motel conversions; and preservation of mobile home parks.
“This is a strategy that communities use all the time that have this type of program in place and allows you to do land banking,” Anderson said. “It allows you to acquire a mobile home park and then recreate that as an affordable neighborhood in perpetuity.”
- Public-private partnerships; working with private or nonprofit developers to fill financing gaps and attract or leverage additional resources to create affordable workforce housing.
“There’s a variety of different strategies used to close the gap between what it takes to build housing and what our workforce can do,” Anderson said. “That can be direct loans and direct subsidy.”
- Using funds to “buy down” the cost of existing housing stock so that it can be repurposed as affordable workforce housing.
- Down payment assistance; providing a secondary loan to help potential home buyers enter the homeownership market.
- Program capacity and management.
“An awesome leader to help get deals done, broker relationships, identify opportunities and manage and administer the program,” Anderson said. “So that’s a key piece.”
Suggestions from the ad hoc committee on how the estimated $1.3 million collected in a year from the lodging tax could be spent include:
- $335,000 for incentives and buy-downs
- $24,000 each for five Accessory Dwelling Units (1 person residence connected to single family home) = 10 people
- $70,000 to “buy down” and add deed restrictions for three “Good Deeds” homes = 10 people
- Hotel/motel conversions
- $500,000 for ownership housing
- $100,000 for funding gap for five homes = 20 people a year
- $315,000 for workforce housing
- Gap financing (5%) $8 million, 20-unit workforce rental project = 45 people a year
- $200,000 down payment assistance
- $12,000 per loan (3%) for 16 homes = 64 people a year
- Maria Judith Alvarez, Mountain Voices Project
- Eric Brotherson, Human Resources manager, Glenwood Caverns
- Ellen Dole, Glenwood Springs Housing Commission
- Kathryn Grosscup, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority
- Dr. Norma Guzmán Durán, dean of the School of Business, Colorado Mountain College
- Christian Henny, president, Hotel Colorado
- Carolyn Meadowcroft, director of Homeowner Services & Community Outreach, Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley
- Kenia Pinela, Family, Friends, and Neighbors and Peer Support; Valley Settlement
- Maria Tarajano Rodman, executive director, Valley Settlement
- Sumner Schachter, Glenwood Springs Housing Commission, Imagine Glenwood
- Hilda Solano, Mountain Voices Project
- Matt Spidell, owner, Jimmy John’s
- Bud Tymczyszyn, conservation easement specialist, Aspen Valley Land Trust
- Clark Anderson, Community Builders
Over the course of the ad hoc group’s work, additional community members began attending meetings, including:
- Brianda Cervantes, Roaring Fork School District
- Mark Gould, Gould Construction
- Mike McCallum, Stifel
- Jamie Darien, Glenwood Springs Citizens for Sensible Development
- Angie Anderson, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association
- Jorge Montiel, Mountain Voices Project
- Gregg Rippy, Grand River Construction
- Kelly Medina, Roaring Fork School District
- Kevin Flohr, Hot Springs Pool
- Kristy Helms, Roaring Fork School District
- Lacy King, Glenwood Springs Citizens for Sensible Development
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.