Public input on affordable housing levy wanted

Can’t afford buy a home in your own hometown? You’re not alone. A third of the families in Tacoma qualify for housing assistance. Tacoma citizens will have a chance to identify solutions for making permanent and rental housing more affordable at three City of Tacoma-sponsored workshops in November.

Citizens who attend one of the three workshops will learn about the affordable housing needs and programs in Tacoma and the potential placement of an affordable housing levy on a future ballot. Citizens can weigh in with their perspective on the potential size of a levy and the kinds of affordable housing to fund with the levy proceeds.

The workshops will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on:
– Nov. 13, Wheelock Library, 3722 N. 26th St.;
– Nov. 18, The Evergreen State College Tacoma, 1210 Sixth Ave.; and
– Nov. 29, Portland Avenue Community Center, 3513 Portland Ave.

A citizen advisory committee will consider community members’ input and the information gathered during the workshops to recommend to the City Council a levy amount and which types of housing a levy should fund if the council places a levy on the ballot in spring 2003.

State law allows cities to seek voter approval of a property tax levy of up to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for up to 10 consecutive years to finance affordable housing for low-income households.

Tax limitations in Tacoma mean that if the City Council places an affordable housing levy on the ballot, the maximum amount would be substantially lower than the maximum allowed by state law. If placed on the ballot, the levy would require a simple majority of voters voting in the election.

For more information about the community workshops, please call Ric Teasley, Tacoma Economic Development Department, 253/591-5238.