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Government Affairs Monthly Report

20-11-2017

November Coffee with Council Takes On Town Hall Format

Join Councilman Scott Ford and other available councilmembers for Coffee with Council scheduled for Friday, November 10 from 7:30am to 9:00am. The November town hall session brings an open question format into the hall as well as discusses election results and City Council priorities for the next two years.

Coffee with Council sessions are typically held the second Friday of each month in the Crawford Room of Centennial Hall (124 10th Street). The goal is to provide an opportunity for community members to meet with city council members in a relaxed atmosphere and discuss any issues of interest to them. Other cities and towns in Colorado have also adopted this approach in order to increase interaction between council and community members, and to promote greater transparency in city business.

No RSVP is necessary, community members are welcome to drop by to discuss any issues of interest to them. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided.

Ballot Measure to Support Affordable Housing Passes in Steamboat

Steamboat residents said yes on Tuesday to a measure to increase property taxes in the name of creating more workforce housing in town. Referendum 5A, which will use a 1-mill property tax levy to create a dedicated funding source for the development of low-income, seasonal and permanently affordable housing, won with 2,842 “yes” votes to 2,248 “no” votes. The tax should generate around $900,000 annually starting next year. The proposal was for a 10 year assessment.

The estimated cost to the taxpayers will be $36 of additional property tax annually per $500,000 of assessed residential valuation. And for commercial properties with a valuation of $500,000, the tax is estimated to be $145 per year.

“This is a win for the community,” Steamboat City Councilwoman and Housing Authority board member Kathi Meyer said after celebrating the election results. “This means lots of new housing for the community.”

Incumbents Retain Council Seats in Steamboat

In the town’s only contested election, Council member Scott Ford was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term in Tuesday’s municipal election. Ford won 78 percent of the vote in his race against challenger Peter Arnold for the council’s at-large seat. Ford, who was first elected to council in 2013, tipped his hat to his opponent for jumping into the race and being civically involved.

Arnold was also complimentary of his opponent, saying Tuesday night that he looks forward to seeing Ford continue to serve the city well.

The race between Arnold and Ford was the only contested council race in this election. Incumbent council member Kathi Meyer will serve in the District 2 seat, incumbent Lisel Petis will serve in the District 1 seat, and former councilwoman Sonja Macys will start serving again in District 3.

CAR Outlines Expected Legislative Activity for 2018 Session

At its recent convention, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® outlined a number of possible issues for consideration as both CAR and the Colorado General Assembly prepare for the 2018 Legislative Session beginning in January. Some of the items that could possible affect REALTORS® Include:

Continuing Issues:

  • Squatters – There’s a need to clarify state statute for evicting squatters on private property. Currently, our law enforcement community does not have ample legal means under the law to legally evict squatters. A recent story related to this issue appeared in local CO Springs media and some legislators have expressed interest in looking at it again. Rep. J. Becker is also still thinking about running a bill.
  • Affordable housing doc fees – As in prior sessions, there’s sure to be legislation to increase filing fees (in spite of a constitutional ban preventing them) on legal documents during housing transactions to increase or create affordable housing funds. CAR is opposed to making some homes unaffordable by increasing filing fees in the name of making other homes affordable.
  • Mandating disclosures of broker fees in advertising – CAR is aware that proponents of last year’s bill are coming back for another attempt.
  • Construction defects legislation from the plaintiff bar
  • Transportation
  • Wildfire Matters Review committee bills

Rumors of potential legislation:

  • Foreclosure statute clean-up
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • Short-term rentals
  • Affordable housing fee for workforce housing (Gunnison and Eagle Counties)
  • Perfecting easements on utility right of ways
  • Homestead exemption means testing

In other words, there are plenty of issues to keep CAR very busy during the upcoming legislative session. The Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) meets regularly to consider newly filed legislation and the potential impacts on the real estate industry. Keep watching this article and CAR’s weekly Capitol Connection during session for the very latest in legislative news.

NAR Opposes Tax Reform Plan as a Tax Increase on Middle Class Homeowners

The National Association of REALTORS® stands in formal opposition to the tax reform plans revealed last week by Congressional leaders.

According to NAR, This bill is a direct threat to consumers, to homeowners and to our real estate businesses. Not only will millions of homeowners not benefit from the proposal, many will get a tax increase. Additionally, homeowners could lose substantial equity from the more than 10% drop in home values likely to result if the bill is enacted.

Based on NAR’s analysis, here’s what the legislation would do:

  • Caps the mortgage interest deduction at $500K for new mortgages
    • cap applies to new mortgage debt (but not refinancing) incurred after November 2, 2017.
    • Limit is not indexed to inflation causing its value to even further diminish over time.
  • Increases the standard deduction
    • Puts homeownership tax incentives beyond the reach of more than 90% of American families.
  • Limits the exemption on Capital Gains Tax from the sale of a primary residence
    • New rules would require homeowners to live in their home for 5 of 8 years before a sale to qualify for the exemption, versus just 2 of previous 5 years today. This will create a hardship to homeowners who have to move inside that five-year window.
    • Exemption phases out for single filers with incomes over $250K ($500K for joint returns).
  • Eliminates the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes.
  • Eliminates the Mortgage Interest Deduction for second homes.
  • Eliminates the deduction for moving expenses.
  • Eliminates the deduction on interest on student loans.
  • Eliminates the deduction for medical expenses, even for the elderly.

All this from a bill that is supposed to improve the current system. Not only is this legislation a clear and present danger to American homeownership, it will cost our children and grandchildren $1.5 trillion in new federal debt.
NAR urges all REALTORS®, Home owners, and consumers to contact your member of Congress and urge them to oppose this plan. More information on how to contact your elected official can be found here: Click here