Truckee looks to grant access to new development funds | SierraSun.com

Truckee looks to grant access to new development funds

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Development of public facilities in Truckee could become easier with the help of Mello-Roos financing, an alternative method of funding that is used when other funding is not available, area contractors say.

Prompted by requests from developers, the Truckee Town Council has started discussion on this type of financing, which the town has never offered before.

"I think what matters more to residents are social benefits that come with development. Getting development off the ground now means we get benefits sooner than later," said Pat Davison of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe. "Why make affordable housing projects wait for other financing?"

The Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 was enacted to provide an alternative method for financing public facilities and services through a Community Facilities District. CFDs are normally formed in undeveloped areas and are used to build roads and install water and sewer systems so that new homes or commercial space can be built, according to the California Tax Data website. They can also be used in older areas to finance new schools or other additions to the community.

“Why make affordable housing projects wait for other financing?”

— Pat Davison, Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe

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In Truckee, this funding could go toward workforce housing, recreation facilities, dedication of land and environmentally beneficial activities, according to Kim Szczurek, Truckee Administrative Services Director. The town has previously used CFD financing for smaller projects such as sidewalk maintenance and snow removal but has not allowed its use for the funding of public facilities.

Once approved, projects will be funded through the development company then paid for by residents through property taxes. Only those who live in the district where the project is located will be responsible for the tax.

MULLING MELLO-ROOS

Mello-Roos financing offers a tax-exempt interest rate that is lower than private financing, making it more attractive to developers. According to a staff report at least three developers have recently requested that the town consider this type of financing, asserting that it "may be the only feasible way to get a project built."

"The Railyard will not continue to move forward without some kind of infrastructure financing," said Jason Hansford the general manager for Holiday Development in charge of the Railyard project.

The town will have to decide if they will offer Mello-Roos to every developer who requests it or if certain requirements should be imposed on developers before gaining access to it. If restrictions are put in place the town will grant this funding only to projects that will provide the town with an "extraordinary public benefit" as stated in a staff report.

"We should only give this benefit to developers who truly want to benefit this town," said Truckee resident Kathleen Eagan.

Council members and staff have acknowledged that there is still much to learn before authorizing developers to use Mello-Roos financing.

"We keep learning and that learning curve is not over," said Town Manager Jeff Loux.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.