City Hall is considering launching a mortgage-assistance program, something that would stand as one of Park City's most aggressive moves as leaders try to ensure the community remains an economically diverse place.
Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council are scheduled to discuss the idea at a meeting on Thursday as part of a wider discussion about housing. Twenty minutes have been set aside starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Marsac Building. The elected officials are not prepared to cast any sort of vote, but they will likely direct staffers to either continue the efforts or nix the idea.
A mortgage-assistance program like the one that will be discussed would be made available to people who qualify through their incomes. People making above a certain amount would not be eligible. It would be limited to people who are buying inside Park City. Details have not been finalized.
Rhoda Stauffer, who manages City Hall's housing programs, said the idea calls for the municipal government to provide assistance for someone purchasing an existing property. She said a maximum dollar figure for assistance has not been set. Interest would be charged, but a rate has not been decided.
The City Hall assistance at the outset would reduce the monthly mortgage payments for the buyer. In similar programs, the entity that provides the assistance holds the lien. In the program under discussion, the holder of the lien could be City Hall.
When the buyer sells, they would be required to repay the amount of the assistance, a portion of the profit on the sale and interest.
The program would not place an appreciation ceiling on the property as is the case in some other City Hall housing programs.
Stauffer said the program could be made available to a wide range of incomes, including those making in the low six figures. Under a formula using a work force wage of $55,714 for a household of three in Park City, people could be eligible for the program if their household income is between $33,000 and $111,000.
Stauffer said the funding for the program would be raised from investors. She said lending institutions like industrial banks could be approached for financial backing. Stauffer said she would like City Hall to raise $5 million over five years if the program is created. The funds would then be pooled and made available to the people who qualify for the assistance.
If the City Council pursues a program, Stauffer said, City Hall would begin raising the money over the next year. She said she would like to complete a few agreements with buyers over the course of a year to use as examples of the program.
Stauffer is not aware of a similar program in the state.
A mortgage-assistance program would expand City Hall's housing programs significantly. The theory of such a program has been mentioned occasionally over the years, but the idea that will be discussed on Thursday appears to be the more solidified than any of the others.
Park City leaders for years have made work force housing a priority as rank-and-file Parkites have struggled to afford to live in the city, the most expensive real estate market in the state. The leaders have said Park City will be better off if a larger percentage of the work force lived in the city, arguing that traffic would be reduced and Park City would have more economic diversity.
City Hall has built work force housing projects like the Snow Creek Cottages and provided assistance to other ones. It also was heavily involved in Park City Heights, a project slated to be developed at Quinn's Junction. City Hall at one point was a co-owner of the Park City Heights property and leaders used the local government's position to ensure the project was developed with more work force units than the private sector would have been required to build on its own.