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Why even have election?
Austin TX – Five weeks after Austin voters rejected a $78.3 million bond proposal for low-income housing, City Council members are looking for other ways to spend money on affordable housing. The council is directing the City Manager to find between $8 million and $10 million in the city budget for low-income housing.
Council Members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo say that money could leverage at least $30 million in state and federal grants. Mayor Lee Leffingwell says, “Although I’m going to support this motion, I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that here we are about to spend the money on a project, worthy though it may be, that has been rejected by the voters.”
The money would go to two “shovel ready” apartment complexes built by nonprofit or private organizations, plus possibly other projects, according to city staff members who worked with Morrison and Tovo as they crafted the proposal.
The resolution is the latest in a series of attempts by the city to work against market forces driving up the cost of living and stressing low-income residents as Austin becomes a larger and increasingly affluent city.