Englewood has their own low income housing projects – City Manager called it “outrageous”

Last week I attended the Englewood city council meeting.  Monica Babbitt and Marcus Scott, from the Arapahoe County Assessor’s office, were there to address tax increment financing (TIF) in one of their dormant urban renewal areas.

Laurett Barrentine, an Englewood city councilwoman, attended the Community Conversations on urban renewal and became aware of the General Iron Works Urban Renewal (UR) Area in Englewood.  This UR area had bee long forgotten but a project was beginning to take shape. She was concerned about the increment being siphoned off from their General Fund in a time where every dollar is important to their budgeting process.  Surprisingly Barrentine had to convince her city staff and council that there was increment in jeopardy.  to make the long story short – she finally prevailed and their is now a recognition that the General Iron Works UR plan area still has 9 years on the TIF clock.  In other words, the city of Englewood stood to lose tax dollars for the next nine years to their UR authority in spite of the fact that there is no debt in this UR area.  (TIF is, by law, to be used to pay debt associated with the project.)

Last Monday, October 24, 2106 the Englewood City Council heard Ms. Babbitt explain to them that there would be no increment – the project known as The Foundry, was tax exempt.  She explained that the developer for The Foundry had partnered with the Englewood Housing Authority (EHA).  For the mere sum of $100 paid to the developer by the EHA the entire project was no longer subject to use tax (taxes paid to the city on the materials used in building the project – it is a lot of money) nor would they be paying property taxes.  To put salt in the wound, Babbitt told the council that not only had the EHA bought in to The Foundry project but they had also paid $100 for a partnership in The Broadway Lofts!

The council members were stunned.  The council members that were liaisons to the EHA were just as stunned as the others.  Barrentine called it outrageous and said that they had been “hood-winked” again.  The city manager, Eric Keck, said he had just found out and he too thought it was outrageous.

I am glad that I went and not even disappointed that I didn’t learn more about increment and UR.  What I heard made me go home and start doing research on Littleton Crossing – there had been some chatter about Section 8 housing in downtown Littleton.  I had to find out – was this the same sort of project that would add citizens but no tax revenues?  Short answer – yes and for up to ten years.

Attachements:  Awards from the CHFA to both Englewood projects:

broadway-lofts2015-4-and-state-award-report

the-foundry-2015competitiveawardreport

Please see the post on Littleton Crossing to see the CHFA report on the award to them of $1,240,000 per year.

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