A major impediment to increasing the inventory of affordable housing is the expensive off-site infrastructure costs required for the development of new units.
Affordable housing developers find their budgets being consumed by these requirements before they even start construction on the housing units. I believe the county has a responsibility to find solutions to assist in the increase of affordable units.
After further research and discussion in the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee, which I chair, I offer a solution as a follow up to an earlier article published March 6 in The Maui News “Off-site requirements impediment to affordable housing,”
Currently, two percent of the county’s annual real property tax revenue goes to the Affordable Housing Fund, to facilitate the development of affordable housing projects. Each year, this revenue is about $5 million.
I plan to propose that we increase the amount of real property tax revenue that goes to the Affordable Housing fund, and earmark the increased amount to address off-site infrastructure improvements that will support the construction of affordable homes. These funds would cover required components of a project, like water and sewer improvements, traffic lights, drainage, curbs, gutters, roadways and bike lanes. And to be clear, I am not proposing an increase to your real property taxes.
Once the additional funds are put into the Affordable Housing Fund, developers will need to apply for grants. The council will set specific criteria and qualification requirements to be considered in reviewing grant request and give approval to fund the project.
I would also like to see a requirement that units built through use of these funds be kept affordable in perpetuity.
This budget session, I will advocate for proactive and aggressive solutions to our affordable housing deficit. take advantage of the opportunity to fight for a solution. Affordable housing is top in my priority, as it should be for the community.
The Budget and Finance Committee will be at the Lahaina Civic Center today at 6 p.m. to receive your testimony on the mayor’s $720-million proposed budget.
You can also testify in person at any of the Budget and Finance Committee meetings this and next, week on the 8th floor of the County Building. All Budget meetings start at 9 am, and public testimony is taken at the start of the meeting. If you can’t attend in person, you can send your written testimony to the Budget and Finance Committee at email@example.com.
I hope to see you all there.
# # #