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Affordable housing committee starts work

A 17-member ad hoc committee will come up with ways to spend proceeds of a   .1 percent sales tax for affordable housing and submit a plan to the city council by the end of June.

Mayor Bruce Tabb told committee members at their inaugural meeting on Jan. 29 that their task will be complicated by the fact that the law on which the sales tax was based has never been used to build affordable housing. Tabb is chair of the committee.

The sales tax is expected to generate between $550,000 and $1 million annually, to be spent on affordable housing and related services as outlined by RCW 82.14.530. The tax will be collected beginning in April.

The committee’s spending plan is to include program objectives, eligibility requirements and spending guidelines. In addition, the committee will come up with duties for a permanent affordable housing commission that will oversee the funds and the programs that are funded.

Tabb gave the committee a deadline of June 22 to come up with recommendations, and said he expects the plan to be presented to the city council in July.

Committee members comprise a diverse cross-section of the community interested in housing, including representatives from the nonprofit sector, CWU, building and construction, realty, health care, and planning.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in city council chambers.

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