The Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of Commissioners agreed to a draft housing action plan for the community this week, following a 3-day summit.
The 80-page plan will need to be approved by a vote at a joint meeting November 2. Under the plan, the county and town will work together on housing issues with a joint Town-County Housing Director.
The Teton County Housing Authority will be restructured to allow for joint control with the town of Jackson. It will remain a quasi-governmental agency, but its scope and focus will be significantly reduced.
“We’ve had a disconnect in Teton County Wyoming for over 20 years now,” says Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust executive director Anne Cresswell. “The Board of County Commissioners has exclusively funded, supported, and provided direction to the Teton County Housing Authority, yet we’ve all come to agree that the majority of all affordable housing will be developed in the town of Jackson, so it makes all the sense in the world to have the town and the county both at the table.”
But Creswell says this action by local leaders is unfortunately unlikely to put new units on the ground anytime soon.
“I’d say this was a really important first step for our community,” says Cresswell. “But there are equally important second, third, fourth, and fifth steps that are yet to come. We need to keep the conversation alive about a dedicated funding source for affordable housing.”
Town and County officials did acknowledge that dedicated funding is needed, but the source of that funding is to be determined. A general sales tax and a ballot excise tax have both been discussed.