Davidson should reverse purchase of homes – in public
by Staff Writer
Honorable mayor and commissioners of Davidson,
I am requesting that you reverse your vote to approve the expenditure of 280,000 taxpayer dollars for the purchase of two houses for the affordable housing program. The purchase of homes for this program is essentially subsidized housing for a town that cannot afford it. Here are the reasons why you should reverse this decision:
The Davidson Affordable Housing Program was an admirable town program and complements the private not-for-profit Davidson Housing Coalition. The housing program is intended to promote policies to help families with an annual income of between about $35,000 and $80,000 (2011) find affordable homes in Davidson. The housing market is “resetting” to a level where this income bracket can afford to live in Davidson or surrounding area without the program.
The Affordable Housing Program sets the owners of these homes up for default. In the current market (and for the foreseeable future), overall housing prices will be low enough to make the affordable units noncompetitive due to restrictions on resale. The lifeline becomes an anchor.
The Affordable Housing Program discourages home improvements, though improvements are a normal part of the ownership experience. Doing improvements might raise the value and make the home exceed the affordable limits. A lack of improvements may also affect adjoining properties, since the houses in the program affect neighboring home values.
Location affects sale-ability and value. The two houses that the town has approved to buy with taxpayer money were built to comply with the Affordable Housing requirements and in a location that is probably undesirable for most families. Some see the one privately owned affordable home at this location as an eyesore and not the standard of the rest of this well-kept neighborhood.
Davidson cannot afford another white elephant. I had hoped our town would have learned from MI-Connection that due diligence and risk/return assessment are important parts of the decision process. Anyone with a computer or real estate agent could find a better home for a qualified buyer in this income bracket without using taxpayer money.
Do we need the Affordable Housing Program? The houses the town want to buy can be affordable without entering the Davidson program. Release the houses from the Affordable Housing restrictions, and let an investor buy them out of foreclosure, finish them and sell them at a fair market value.
Why not discuss this large expenditure of taxpayer money in a public forum? Was a closed session really necessary, or was it a cover for adding a large expenditure after passing a controversial budget?
Considering these points and with the public watching more closely, I ask you to reverse your decision or reconsider this in a public forum, where the issues could be heard by the taxpayers who will be paying for these houses.