Fee Increase Will Go Toward Affordable Housing
A fee increase approved by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners last week will generate about $65 million over the next ten years for affordable housing.
That works out to about $4 million a year for a program called the County Housing Magnet Fund – which will support housing near employment centers – and an additional $2.4 million a year for the Central Ohio Community Land Trust. Franklin County currently spends about $17 million a year on affordable housing programs.
The new funds will come from a $1 increase in the real estate conveyance fee. As of October 7, anyone selling property in the county will pay $3 per $1,000 in sale price (a third of the fee will continue to go toward the state).
“Franklin County is thriving, and growing at an unprecedented rate,” said Board of Commissioners President Marilyn Brown in a statement. “But we know that our community is not really successful unless everyone has the opportunity to succeed, and that includes having a decent, safe place to live near public transportation, resources, and places to work.”
The county unveiled a “poverty assessment and strategic plan” in June, and the latest announcement was framed as an outgrowth of that process. The fee increase was also pushed by the faith-based advocacy organization BREAD, whose members attended many commission meetings over the course of the year, calling for a $2 increase.
Although the amount is smaller than what they hoped to see, the leaders of the organization are still pleased with the result.
“This amount may not be the $2 that we wanted, (but) will still result in a projected 200 units per year in addition to what is already being developed,” said BREAD CFO Noel Williams. “BREAD’s persistence and people power paid off.”
The next step for the organization, she added, is to “follow up to make sure that the $1 increase goes toward housing for the 54,000 low income families who need it the most.”