By Margie Menzel, WFSU
The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency is considering whether to include low-income affordable housing on its slate of projects. But it will take a supermajority vote by both the Tallahassee City Commission and the Leon County Commission to make it happen. That’s because the change is considered a “substantive amendment.”
Last week members of the Capital Area Justice Ministry came to Blueprint’s board of directors with a plan to use Blueprint money to help build affordable housing. Blueprint gets its funding from a one-cent sales tax surcharge that was last approved by voters in 2014, and affordable housing wasn’t one of the projects the voters approved at that time.
That’s why Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey pushed back against the proposal.
“We have made a commitment by taking this to referendum,” he said. “We have 27 projects that we have to build because it passed by referendum.”
But ultimately, most of the board members said the local housing crisis was so dire they’d at least consider the possibility. Here’s Tallahassee Mayor Pro Tem Dianne Williams-Cox:
“The time has come, and the voters would agree, because some of them are those who are in need,” she said. “And we need to be creative, we need to be innovative. We need to do some things that will help them meet the challenges of today. Twenty years ago, we may not have seen this coming. We didn’t see Covid coming, we didn’t see a lot of things coming.”
The members of the city and county commissions, sitting as the Blueprint board, voted 9-3 for an analysis to be prepared by staff that looks into using infrastructure funds to purchase land for building affordable housing communities.
If and when that item comes to a vote on a funding proposal, that’s not enough votes to move forward. A substantive change would require a yes from 4 city commissioners and 5 county commissioners.
View the original story here.