Housing Trust Fund Proposal Stirs Debate

Oct 12, 2011

Urban County Council members sparred over the creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund Tuesday. The issue could come to a public referendum. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as envisioned by the committee tasked with exploring it, would need around four million dollars of dedicated funding every year. The committee determined the best way to pay for the fund would be a 1-percent raise in the insurance premium tax, or an increase of about $30 dollars a year for the average household. Councilman Chris Ford said the need for more affordable housing is very real.

"We have a lot of project managers and developers in our community. They build great projects, but some of the most needy projects they cannot build because there is still a gap. This trust fund would close that gap," Ford said.

But others, such a council member Jay McChord questioned whether such a trust fund should top the council's list of priorities, given the economic climate.

"If I'm told there is a community outcry, this is what I'm going to say. I will vote right now to put it on for public referendum and let the public vote. I'm not going to raise taxes at all," McChord said.

LFUCG Chief Administrative Officer Richard Moloney said the mayor's administration does not support a tax increase to pay for the fund.