by Sam Hieb
In today’s lead editorial the Charlotte Observer reluctantly endorses $223 million in bond referendums on the November ballot. One is for $50 million toward affordable housing:
Let’s tackle the trickiest one first. The City Council is asking voters to authorize $50 million for investments in affordable housing through the city’s Housing Trust Fund. That’s more than triple the amount the city has sought in previous years.
….So what’s tricky about it?
The City Council to this point has not used most of its Housing Trust Fund money to help those who need it most: our city’s poorest, those making less than 30 percent of the area’s median income. Much of the money has gone to subsidize developers building housing for people making much closer to average income. Consultants and data have shown that the real housing shortage is for the very poorest, but it’s hard to make those projects attractive to developers, and the city has not done so.
…While the other two are $118 million for streets, bridges, sidewalks and the like, and $55 million for neighborhoods:
The projects this money would pay for are detailed at www.voteyesforbonds.com. They are the kinds of basic investments required for a livable city. The current tax rate already accounts for them, so passage (or rejection) would not change the tax rate. This is the third of four installments in a community investment plan the council approved in 2013.
Voters should vote yes for all three bonds – and hold the city accountable on affordable housing.
Knowing Charlotte, my guess is all three will pass.