Government Affairs Monthly Report09-14-2018
|Citizen Focus Group Input for New Fire Station Sought
The deadline for applying to participate in the Focus Group to provide input on proposed locations for a new Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Station has been extended to Thursday, September 13.
Those interested in participating in the focus group should send a letter of interest via email to Deputy Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5PM on September 13, 2018.
As part of the site selection process, the focus group will provide citizen perspectives and insights to a professional working committee tasked with recommending a new fire station location to the Steamboat Springs City Council. It is expected that the focus group will meet a minimum of two to three times over the next four months.
Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue currently utilizes the Central Fire Station (9th and Yampa Street) and the Ambulance Barn (Yampa Street between 9th and 10th) to house apparatus and personnel for the downtown area. The proposed station would primarily serve the downtown area, one of the departments larger call volume areas.
Bessey Ascends to New Position of Planning Director
Rebecca Bessey steps into her new role as director of the city's Planning and Community Development Department on Monday, Sept. 10. The planning department oversees zoning, development and land use review, historic preservation and long-range planning in the city. Bessey has served as the department's principal planner since 2013. Before that, she worked for about three years in Routt County's planning department after spending about 10 years in her home state of Michigan at a land use and transportation planning firm.
Bessey said she also hopes to improve customer service, to build trust within Steamboat's community of developers and provide for a more predictable and collaborative review process.
Challenges like creating affordable housing, long-range plans and solving Steamboat's downtown parking struggles will also be focuses of the new planning director.
Lets Go Colorado Officially Makes the November Ballot Statewide
Backers of Initiative 153 gathered enough signatures to place the measure on the fall ballot, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Thursday. The measure nicknamed Lets Go, Colorado would increase the states sales-and-use tax rate by 0.62 percentage points from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent.
The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is supporting this measure, which would finance bonds for up to $6 billion for road and highway improvements, as well as transit projects. A cut of the money would go to local governments to use on their needs. If voters approve, 45 percent of the windfall would go to the Colorado Department of Transportation, local governments would get 40 percent and the rest would go to multimodal projects to reduce traffic congestion.
Williams office determined that supporters submitted 195,499 valid voter signatures, based on a review of a portion of the petitions submitted well over the 98,492 needed to qualify for the ballot.
FHFA Ends Single Family Rental Program
On August 21, 2018, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Enterprises) are ending their single-family rental pilot programs, stating that that the larger single-family rental investor market continues to perform successfully without the liquidity provided by the Enterprises. Moreover, the Enterprises will limit their participation in the single-family rental market to their prior investments over the past two years.
NAR has long opposed the Enterprises providing financial guarantees to large Wall Street investors, who can use their financial advantage and outbid homebuyers, which reduces the supply of affordable homes for Americans. The Enterprises single-family rental deals with Wall Street giants have clearly not advanced affordable homeownership.
NAR Meets with GAO to Discuss Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac
Near the end of the summer, staff from NARs Federal advocacy team met with analysts from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to discuss the current state of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conservatorship and its impact on the real estate market. This meeting was a follow up to a round of meetings that GAO held with NAR and other industry players in 2014 that resulted in a study.
NAR staff emphasized to the GAO that while not perfect, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have done a good job of providing steady, stable and affordable credit to a broad market during very difficult times. Furthermore, preserving the benefits of the current system should be a primary goal of any reform efforts in the coming years.
In addition to engaging with the GAO, NAR recently brought together a panel of industry experts to discuss the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. NAR will continue to actively engage in the discussion to protect the vibrant, national housing finance market.