F3 Officially Endorses Proposition 422 (Attainable Housing Bond)


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Proposition 422: Improving Housing Affordability (previously known as Attainable Housing Bond) is a $25M bond that will be spread out over 20 years in which a Committee, made up non-profits, realtors, developers, and other interested parties will make recommendations to Council in a public forum on how to spend the bond towards the goal of more attainable housing. Council will have final authority on how/whether bond is spent for particular recommended projects.
The actual language of Proposition 422 is written broadly in order to have flexibility over the 20 year period (what we need today may not be what we need in 2035). The goals of Proposition 422 are to offer more attainable housing largely by 1. providing developers more incentives to create below-market affordable housing, 2. revolving loans that will be down payment assistance for home buyers. These types of programs have a proven track record of success through the years; they have just been sorely underfunded in Flagstaff.
The bond is expected to provide about 1,000 additional affordable homes (ECONA determined our need to be 3,000 houses). It will also have the advantage of helping out middle-class people with homebuyer assistance, who otherwise cannot receive federal or state funds. By moving these long-term renters into home ownership, it will also help affordability by increasing the housing stock for rentals.

Proposition 422 will offer other forms of assistance as time goes on, depending on what the city needs are at the time. Proposition 422 must be listed as a tax increase, although taxpayers won’t see an increase in their property tax bills. The bond money will become available as other city bonds are paid off, and Council is committed to keeping property taxes at the same rate. If Proposition 422 doesn’t pass, the bond money would likely be spent for other city services.

  Although the board at F3 endorses Proposition 422, we acknowledge that it is not a perfect solution. It will at best, only cover about a 1/3 of our determined affordable housing needs. As Councils come and go over the 20 years, it is possible that bond money may not be spent or spent unwisely. Even though the bond was reduced by $10M from its original proposal, Flagstaff is still reaching the upper limits of its debt capacity. Paying for services like Red Gap Ranch or recycled water might become more challenging.
We also acknowledge that Proposition 422 will need a group of dedicated and knowledgeable citizens to serve on the Committee making recommendations to Council. It is F3’s hope that there will consistently be representatives from our non-profit community on this Committee, including but not limited to Housing Solutions, TCLT, and Habitat for Humanity, that will keep the community’s best interests in mind in the goals of creating more attainable housing. F3 intends to collaborate with our local non-profits to ensure that these community goals of more attainable housing are best being met through this bond, and to keep our members informed of how the bond money is being utilized. We may occasionally ask our members to communicate with the Committee or Council if the goals of more attainable housing are not best being met through Proposition 422.

Despite these concerns, F3 still thinks that Proposition 422 is a bold move towards more attainable housing and will increase the quality of life for all Flagstaff residents. The revolving door of talented people leaving Flagstaff because of a lack of affordable housing is costing us in many ways. It is affecting the healthcare we receive with a 33% turnover rate of nurses at our hospitals; it is affecting the education of our future voters; it is affecting the city’s bottom line as we continue to train employees who quickly decide to leave for more affordable pastures. Our city needs a vibrant and diverse working community in order to preserve the character that brought so many of us to Flagstaff and continue to call this place home. We at F3 hope that you will support Proposition 422 at the ballot box this November.