Attainable Housing Bond-Needed, but let's be smart about it

Council is considering placing a $35 million bond for attainable housing on the ballot this November.  We absolutely need to put money towards this problem as it is arguably the biggest issue we face as a city.  That being said, I have some concerns…

First of all, if nobody knows what exactly we’re going to spend that money on, where did the magic number of $35 million come from? The city of Flagstaff has a bonding limit of $50 million left.  If we cut out $35 million of that for this project alone, we are setting ourselves up to have serious difficulties in the future. We will only have another $15 million in credit line for the foreseeable future. Think about, for example, if a natural disaster hits our town and we can’t take out a loan to repair the community.

Secondly, we aren’t just spending $35 million.  When you include interest, this is actually going to cost the city around $57 million.

Let me be clear.  We need this on the ballot.  We need attainable housing for the low and middle class, but let’s not willy-nilly throw numbers around that could end up hurting us in the future and cost millions in interest charges. If we are taking out money, let’s figure out where we plan to spend it first, THEN set a number, THEN place it on the ballot.