The Durham City Manager Seeks a Tax Hike to Pay for More Affordable Housing | Triangulator | Indy Week

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The Durham City Manager Seeks a Tax Hike to Pay for More Affordable Housing

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As part of a $429 million budget proposal, Durham's city manager is recommending a 1.79-cent property tax increase for the 2017–18 fiscal year to help address affordable housing needs in the city.

The city's current tax rate is 56.07 cents per $100 of assessed property value, including one cent dedicated to affordable housing. A budget proposal presented Monday night by Thomas Bonfield would raise the tax rate to 57.86 cents and double the affordable housing portion to two cents. It would also dedicate 0.79 cents to public safety initiatives. 

"Addressing priority gap areas in the city's affordable housing strategy all start and end with adequate funding," Bonfield said. "That is why I am recommending an increase in the dedicated housing fund by a penny, which, coupled with federal entitlements and the existing penny for housing, brings the city's commitment to affordable housing to almost nine million dollars."

The additional penny for housing would raise $2.7 million. Bonfield said the increase is "substantial" but won't close the gap between the city's affordable housing supply and its needs. According to a 2015 housing report by Enterprise Community Partners, there are 27,300 low-income renters and homeowners in Durham. At the time of the report, there were 6,100 income-restricted, subsidized homes in Durham.

"There's not enough money to solve the city's affordable housing problem," Bonfield said.

The 1.79-cent tax hike would raise the average property tax bill by $32, to $1,041. Bonfield's proposal represents a 6 percent increase over the 2016–17 budget. 

The proposed budget would also increase funding for street improvements from $4 million to $6.6 million and eliminate daily pass fees to the city's recreation facilities for residents under the age of eighteen. Water and sewer fees would go up by an average of 2.6 percent.

This article appeared in print with the headline "+BIG MONEY."

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