Is County not in favor of affordable housing?
Today Mayor Gimenez’s office has released the mid-year budget adjustment ordinance, and it is sorely deficient. Whereas my colleagues and I unanimously approved $10 million for the Affordable Housing Trust fund in the current budget year, the administration has been able to identify only $387,000 for affordable housing.
Because the item came up on first reading (which means the commission was not able to discuss this), and because the item entailed more than $40 million in mid-year budget adjustments, I voted favorably on first reading and saved my criticism for second reading.
It is evident that the administration does not agree with the commission on the importance of affordable housing. As an excuse for not funding even a reasonable fraction of the $10 million, they point to the Zika outbreak and other non-recurring budgetary abnormalities, such as the backlog of two years in Value Adjustment Board (VAB) appeals.
This is not acceptable, and it shows how distant the road is to the full funding of the Affordable Housing Trust. We must ensure that in the next budget year the allocation is not conditioned on “carry-over or excess funds,” but that it is an integral part of the budget.
“I urge all advocacy groups, and anyone who cares about the housing situation in our community, to voice their dissatisfaction and to continue putting pressure on the administration so that we can ultimately fund, not $10 million, but the full $50 million which is only 1% of our operating budget,” said Commissioner Suarez.
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