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Park City, Summit County moving forward with housing authority

The two bodies met at City Hall Tuesday morning.
Park City Municipal
The two bodies met at City Hall Tuesday morning.

The Park City and Summit County councils are moving into the next phase to create a regional housing authority, an effort to meet the affordable housing needs in the Wasatch Back.

In April the two councils created a subcommittee to study the potential of a new housing authority, which would serve as a developer and centralized independent body for all housing-related items.

Elected officials for Park City and Summit County were asked at a joint meeting Tuesday whether the group should abandon the plan or move to next steps, developing a budget and drafting interlocal agreements.

Park City Housing Manager Jason Glidden said right now the city and the county spend around $1.2 million annually on affordable housing. He said if a housing authority is developed, they anticipate the annual budget to be roughly $1.5 million. Glidden said it’s a long-term commitment, as the new body would likely not create any revenue for at least five to 10 years.

Park City and Summit County have both committed to spending $500,000 each, leaving a $500,000 gap to be filled.

For that reason, Park City Councilmember Jeremy Rubell said he’d prefer to start with a task force instead.

“We’ve seen a lot of property taxes the past couple of years, and we can’t just print the money,” Rubell said. “But we should absolutely have some kind of regional task force or whatever you want to call it, where we’re collaborating on these projects and using the leverage that the city has, the leverage the county has, to benefit the community as a whole without increasing bottom line costs at all.”

Fellow Park City Councilmember Becca Gerber agreed, saying the task force could transition into a housing authority in the future.

Summit County Council Chair Roger Armstrong recommended starting small too.

“I would like to propose that one of the very first and most critical pieces of this is understanding financing sources,” Armstrong said. “We’re looking at a ridiculous budget right now for the county.”

Armstrong said he’d like to see if they can get any funding from the state.

The housing authority could also involve other local governments, reducing the cost. Summit County Councilmember Tanja Hanson mentioned Kamas has shown interest.

Max Doilney, who will be leaving the city council along with Gerber next year, gave the housing authority a thumbs up, and said it’s time to get the ball rolling.

“Time is of the essence,” Doilney said. “We’ve got to get going now because we have a lot of big things coming to Park City and Summit County in the next 10 years. And if it takes us another year to make this decision, we’re in a real bad space.”

A majority of council members from both bodies agreed to continue work on the housing authority. However, the move did not constitute a final vote.

If the process continues to move along, the city and county would look to appoint housing commissioners, and hire an executive director for the housing authority. The last task would be adopting resolutions with a budget.

The next joint meeting is in January.