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Not shovel-ready

7/9/2013

Not shovel-ready

In regards to the July 3 HDN article on the Rural Housing Incentive District policy revisions, it is good to see the expanded input by some of the more focused interest groups, again to be voted on July 11. Perhaps the local interest of builders will be spurred into action as this issue has gotten greater exposure.

Expectations are ever-increasing for government help at all levels, be it federal, state or local. Government at all those levels as a whole are financially in the hole. The challenge is setting priorities for funding to satisfy all the competing interests that come to the feeding table. Everyone has a passion, self-interest or appeal in requesting a piece of the pie.

All might agree that a low-income waiting list is not the same as homeless. Everyone would like to upgrade their own living habitat, but at whose expense? Commissioner Kent Steward is right to be concerned that the costs to other people would go up.

It is a belief of mine to protect the elderly on a fixed income and with no Social Security income increases that keep pace with inflation and the projected unsustainable Social Security benefits in 2030, could lead those persons closer to joining the waiting list of those in need.

My opposition stems from wanting to guard against profiteers who after exhausting the abatement time frame are at free will to raise the rents of the very people these advocates want to help.

This is why I suggested the policy looked at July 2 should say or welcome only the nonprofit applications for serious consideration. The Hays Housing Authority is already in place or should be in a position to perhaps be a more appropriate avenue to address this concern from the quoted parties mentioned in the story and then only after the next housing study is completed.

While it is not the responsibility of government to insure the adequate living conditions of the populace, grant writers can dust off their keyboards knowing that the feds are always looking to increase the deficit and no legislator would want to miss an opportunity, for publicity, to show they are bringing home some bacon to the district.

No one is insensitive to a perceived need here, but there should be hope the commission will give an extension of time for deliberate thought as we are not at the 11th hour. Projects and ideas hatched one day follow with the expectation that the shovel has to break ground the following day.

"We are not so shovel-ready."

Guy Windholz

Hays

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