More than 10 years after the city established its Affordable Housing Program, commissioners have decided to implement it. The program was established in November of 2005 and is funded through impact fees - .25 to .50 cents per square foot on renovations and new construction. 

Now, $285,000 has been accumulated and commissioners want to use it.

“It’s not a huge, incredible amount of money but this is a start,” said Vice Mayor Justin Flippen.

The city will issue two requests for bidders to administer the programs – $150,000 for homebuyers and $50,000 for rental assistance. The rest will be saved to be utilized at a later date when the fund is replenished and reaches $200,000.

But with such a relatively small amount of money, Mayor Gary Resnick said he wants to spend as little as possible on management fees for whatever organization or entity is chosen to run the program.

“We don’t have a lot of money. They’ll eat it up in administrative fees,” Resnick said. He suggested city staff look at what other cities, such as Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale, are doing with their affordable housing programs. Flippen said staff should “cast a wider net” and look at programs beyond the borders of Broward County.

Although he voted for the program, Commissioner Tom Green expressed his preference for putting all the money into home ownership. Green said he was against rental assistance because he wasn’t sure when the city would stop assisting someone with their rental payments. Green said later that he views the program as one which will help residents purchase $100,000 condos and not $900,000 homes.

Commissioner Julie Carson expressed her support for including the rental component. “There’s a lot of need for that.”

But commissioners all agreed that the program does not have much money to last long before they have to wait again for funds to replenish. 

“It ends when it’s over,” said Carson. “It wouldn’t last long. That’s for sure,” said Commissioner Scott Newton.