Rico affordable housing construction impossible without State of Colorado subsidy




Rico Board of Trustees Meeting

October 18, 2023


· Internet,Park,Housing,Roads,Trustees Meeting
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Housing . . Internet . . Park . . Roads . . Trustees Meeting


In this report

  1. State housing construction assistance funds debated
  2. San Juan National Forest-Dolores Ranger District grant request to Colorado Parks & Wildlife support letter approved
  3. Piedmont Road easement for portion on USFS land process begins
  4. Town General Funds transfer to C-SAFE account will earn higher interest
  5. Trustees election canceled due to candidates shortage
  6. Fiberoptic and Town Shop updates
  7. Park and Recreation improvements grant application update
  8. Construction impact mitigation rules and regulations discussed

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Bedrock Subdivision
Ore Cart - October 25, 2023


1) State housing construction assistance funds debated

At the October 12, 2022 special session of the Town Rico Board of Trustees, Region 9 Economic Development representative Shak Powers presented the Proposition 123 State of Colorado opportunity for Rico to access affordable housing construction assistance funds. Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy explained the background in the Trustees Meeting Packet:

In November 2022, Colorado voters passed Proposition 123, a ballot measure authorizing the state to retain money from existing state tax revenue to support affordable housing investment. These funds are split 60/40 between the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) through its Division of Housing (DOH), respectively. OEDIT manages the Affordable Housing Financing Fund, in partnership with Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), which serves as Contract Administrator. DOH manages the Affordable Housing Support Fund. For Municipalities to have access to these funds they must make a commitment to permit a certain amount of housing units within the next three years.

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Results of Powers’ work with Colorado affordable housing criteria worksheets and Dolores County annual median income reveal that an affordable housing unit in Rico should cost $199,551, which cannot be achieved at current construction costs unless State of Colorado subsidizes the construction cost:

The Town of Rico used the Area Median Income for their own County, Dolores County for the year 2022. The household size was set to 2. This more accurately reflects the average household size in all of Dolores County and Rico. It is also a better reflection of the median income. The median household income for a family of two in Dolores County is $62,500. With the Baseline Assistance Tool set to a family of 2, the tool shows the median income to be $65,800. This number is close and sets the for-sale unit price so low that it will be impossible to build without the State making up the difference in construction cost with Proposition 123 funds. The mortgage interest rate was set to 7.3% which reflects current lending conditions. The original setting of a 5% down payment was used. These selections yielded an affordable for sale price of $199,551.

According the MLS data provided by the Colorado Real Estate Network, CREN, only 1 home has sold in Rico below that amount since the beginning of the pandemic. . . .

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Communities must opt in by November 1, 2023 to be eligible for funds during 2024. If Town of Rico commits to this program, it need issue only for 1 (one) permit by December 31, 2026.

If Rico does not permit a home be sold at or below $199,551 before the end of 2026, Rico will be ineligible for funds originating from the State Affordable Housing Fund from January 1, 2027 through December 31, 2027.

Trustees commented for and against:


In favor

  • Do not have anything to lose, Region 9 has done most of the legwork already for Town.
  • It’s some that Rico should send a message to Front Range that Rico is interested in affordable housing.
  • One of the Bedrock Subdivision housing units might might be included in the affordable housing program.
  • Is difficult to create affordable housing with grant funding.
  • Town has land if a developer is interested in getting an affordable housing unit permitted.


  • Possibility of getting these funds is extremely slim.
  • The State money will likely go to the Front Range for homeless crisis there, so additional workload on Town Staff to prepare application is unwarranted.

Trustees voted to approve a motion to proceed with the affordable housing commitmen: 5 Aye, 2 Nay.



2) San Juan National Forest grant request to Colorado Parks & Wildlife support letter approved

Rico Trustees voted unanimously to approval letter in support of US Forest Service (USFS) San Juan National Forest (SJNF) funding request proposal to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for trail work in the area. Town Manager explained the USFS grant request in he Trustees Meeting Packet:

The SJNF applies yearly to the CPW motorized trail grants program to fund projects for the upcoming season. Next year’s projects include the East Fork Trail project and the Dozer 25 project. They are often successful in their grant applications and attribute these successes to the letters of support they receive from surrounding communities.

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The approved support letter to Colorado Parks and Wildlife cites the benefits of public lands trails and the local economic benefit of visiting trail users:

The Town of Rico has many motorized trails on public lands adjacent to our town. Community members recreate on these lands daily and continue to advocate for reasonable and responsible motorized recreational opportunities. Recreational OHV opportunities are significant to our local economy and lifestyle. For example, dirt bike riders from around the country often frequent the Calico trail network, passing through the town as they complete their ride. During the summer and fall you often see dirt bikes parked in front of local establishments with the riders inside supporting local businesses.

It is critically important to us to protect motorized use as a valued recreational resource. The USFS Dolores Ranger District has effectively tapped into grant opportunities to help sustain the Motorized Trail program.

The USFS Dolores Ranger District has a proven track record converting funding opportunities into successful trail maintenance projects. These projects have had numerous positive impacts within our community and the surrounding area. CPW's partnership in keeping an outstanding recreational network is critical. ln the face of declining federal recreational budgets and increased recreational use, CPW's financial commitment to the community is vital and greatly appreciated.

The Town of Rico strongly supports the Dolores Ranger District's Motorized Trail program and the grant request to CPW. The Dolores Ranger District has consistently demonstrated sound project management and delivered outstanding results.



3) Piedmont Road easement for portion on USFS land process begins


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Town Manager described the purpose of the proposed road easement in the Trustees Packet:

Included in the packet is a letter to the San Juan National Forest to initiate a FRTA easement for road 54.7 that accesses Piedmont. This road was built in 1971 across forest service land without legal permission. Once the FRTA easement is approved this access issue will be resolved. The town will need to work in partnership with the Dolores County BOCC to move through this process.

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Responding to an October 19, 2023, Ore Cart email inquiry, San Juan National Forest Realty Specialist Daniel Chavez at the Dolores Ranger District office near explained FRTA easements:

FRTA stands for Forest Roads and Trails Act easement, it allows us to issue an easement on a road or trail to a public road agency (the county) in which we basically give the county a road for public use. It would be similar to what we have with the county on the Dolores-Norwood but in this case the length of the road would be less than a few hundred feet and it sound like the town of Rico would be doing the maintenance and upkeep on it.

Forest Roads and Trails Act was enacted October 15, 1964, according to Chavez in a same-day phone conversation with Ore Cart.

Trustees voted unanimously to approve the FRTA letter to USFS.



4) Town General Funds transfer to C-SAFE account will earn higher interest

The Board of Trustees discussed at its October 12 meeting a possible transfer of funds from Town's Dolores State Bank checking account to Town's Colorado Surplus Asset Fund Trust (C-SAFE) account. C-SAFE return on investment is higher than in past years due to current interest rates.

C-SAFE About page describes the Colorado local government investment fund:

CSAFE, Colorado Surplus Asset Fund Trust, was formed in 1988 and is an original Colorado local government investment pool developed by Colorado local governments for Colorado local governments. CSAFE"s sole purpose is to serve government entities in Colorado to meet investment objectives via an asset allocation approach to portfolio management with an emphasis on:

  • Safety
  • Liquidity
  • Transparency
  • Competitive Yields

Trustees approved a transferring Town funds from checking account to C-SAFE, with a minimum of $500,000 to be maintained in checking.



5) Trustees election canceled due to candidates shortage


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Ore Cart photo
October 24, 2023


Rico Town Clerk Anna Wolf reported that only one candidate submitted a complete nominating petition for the November election, so the election is cancelled. Two Trustee terms expire in January 2024, so a vacancy will remain.

Rico elected officials, Trustees and Mayor, will be sworn in at the January 2024 Trustees meeting, instead of at the November meeting following the election which was the past practice. Rico voters approved a change in Town election schedules at the November 2022 election to comply with state election guidelines, which changed the terms of office start-date to January, explained Anna.



6) Fiberoptic and Town Shop updates

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Ore Cart photo
October 7, 2023


Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy described fiberoptic cable Installation in West Rico for Direct Communication's Internet service upgrade project. He also met with Town Shop construction engineers to identify cost-saving options to insure the total cost of the project does not exceed the sum of a Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant and Town matching funds.




7) Park and Recreation improvements grant application update

FMP Consulting representative Anais Spitzer described efforts to submit a grant application to Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) since the last update in September. FMP submitted the Initial draft to GOCO. GOCO requested revisions. FMP submitted a second draft. GOCO requested revisions again. The final draft is ready for Town Manager to submit to GOCO.

Communities which pass the first round of evaluation will be invited by GOCO to submit formal applications in November. FMP Consulting requested Town of Rico to apply for a $40,000 grant from the Rico Center to help fund portions of the park improvements.




8) Construction impact mitigation rules and regulations discussed


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Ore Cart photo
June 9, 2022


Trustees previously reviewed other Colorado communities' construction mitigation policies at the September 2023 Trustees meeting. Those examples, and review of past complaints during the last two construction seasons, were used to compile a draft Town of Rico Construction Rules and Regulations. Trustees discussed the draft. Consideration for adoption will on the November regular monthly Trustees meeting, according to Rico Town Clerk Anna Wolf.

Rico citizens may review the proposed Construction Rules and Regulations by downloading the Board of Trustees October 18, 2023 Packet at Town of Rico website.