How to Spend Our $22 Million American Rescue Plan Stimulus on Solving Affordable Housing in Gallatin County

This is the attachment given to the County Commission regarding on how to spend our $22 million.

Hi, I’m Chris Brizzolara, a candidate running for mayor this November in Bozeman, and I want to talk about how the county commission first came up with the idea to spend it on the courts. On the courts?! I want to swear because I am so frustrated…Do you not live in Bozeman and see the housing crisis?

Only 958K dollars were designated to helping the housing situation in the 2021 approved budget for Bozeman. That’s only 1.36 houses at our city’s average price of 700K.

Also, I do not understand how the federal government can give our county 22 million dollars to give back to us the people, and your first ideas were to expand the courts.

Well…I am really happy this idea was denied, and I have attached a sample of my plan to spend this money developing 2 subdivisions and selling the plots back to locals citizens for 50 thousand dollars each.

Currently the cheapest lot for sale in town is on Kagy for $260,000 at 0.3 acres.

My proposal is to buy the land via eminent domain that I regard as Cat Tail Lake Subdivision, approximately 400+ acres of farmland on the Western Border of Belgrade and Bozeman, and split this up to over 800 1/2 acre plots sold to citizens only. The city should buy the land, host an architectural competition online, and then set up a revolving loan fund focused on single family home mortgages and construction loans.

The model city I’m basing this idea off is Denver, and it launched an extremely efficient fund that started in April 2013. They were able to use a $15 million grant to:
• acquire 8 properties,
• create 626 affordable homes,
• provide over 120,000+ sq ft of commercial space,
• and then grew that initial 15 million to over $200,000,000 from public, private and nonprofits partners in only 3 years! It also created over 700 jobs in Denver in only 3 years!

My proposal, the Build by Bozeman proposal, has 22 suggestions, and the first two subdivisions attached in this packet alone, have the potential to grow the new city revolving loan fund by over 135 million dollars in less than 10 years.

I have a master’s in architecture, wrote my thesis on an affordable housing subdivision proposal in Steamboat, CO, work for a firm in town, have my own LLC, and offering to manage both the design competition as well as the development of this project. Please let me be involved in this process, because all I want to do is offer cheap lots to our citizens with our own taxpayer money.

But to summarize, in 15 years, expected gross total income in the city’s revolving loan fund could mature to be about 322 Million – 624 million dollars. This would supply the valley with over 500 million dollars in new, single family homes, and provide hundreds of jobs to locals as well as over 1,800 new homes.

Additionally I have designed over 360+ acres for what I call Bozeman’s Central Park, and over 690 acres will be given back to the people in the form of affordable $50,000 1/2 acre lots with the option to obtain financing through the city’s new revolving loan fund.


Follow me online at bozemanbybozeman.wordpress.com or on twitter at @BozemanxBozeman

3 thoughts on “How to Spend Our $22 Million American Rescue Plan Stimulus on Solving Affordable Housing in Gallatin County

  1. Dear Mr. Brizzolara,
    Please familiarize yourself with the guidance released by the Treasury Department for ARPA funds. You reference the City several times in your letter. You state “the City should buy the land” and “the new City revolving loan fund”. Cities and Counties are both receiving funds from ARPA. The City of Bozeman will have $12m and the County will have $22m.
    Counties and Cities have many questions yet to be answered, but most of the big ones have been addressed.
    The money cannot be used for capital infrastructure, and any loaning of funds must be for economic recovery from COVID related impacts.

    This summary is quoted form Treasury Department:

    Recipients may use Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to:
    • Support public health expenditures, by funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff;
    • Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector;
    • Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic;
    • Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have borne and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors; and,
    • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet

    We want to clarify, the idea to build a courts facility was held as a possible use of the funds in the brief period before we had ANY guidance form Treasury on allowable expenditures. As a general powers government, counties have an obligation to provide courts. Retiring the current Law and Justice facility has been a stated and vetted capital priority of the County for over a decade. Numerous community groups, citizen advisory groups, and professional organizations have advocated for the replacement of that facility through years of public participation in County capital planning. The idea to use ARPA funds to accomplish this project had the benefit of reducing future taxes on property owners. Instead, citizens are likely to see a bond issue on this November’s ballot to build the Courts Facility.

    Everyone that works for and with the County understands the challenges our community faces with housing and supporting our workforce. We are currently working on developing a workforce housing project and daycare facility on County owned property in the middle of the city.

    In the coming weeks and months, the County will be holding several work sessions with stakeholders for the use of ARPA funds around behavioral health, economic recovery, and water/sewer infrastructure. As we understand it today, Counties have significant limitations in participating in broadband infrastructure.

    Thank you for bringing your concerns to the County Commission,

    Sincerely,
    Scott MacFarlane
    Chair Gallatin County Commission

    Like

    1. Please consider me as part of your meetings, I would really appreciate it and I don’t understand how my proposal isn’t doing the following:

      • Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency – the housing prices are due to COVID
      • Provide premium pay for essential workers – the city and county would be loaning money out to people, and selling land for way below market value. If it can’t do that, give it to all the nurses, fire fighters, EMTs, garbagemen, water and sewage workers in the forms of cash dividends, and they can form their own organization to implement my first subdivision, Cat Tail Lake Subdivision.

      Before saying no, just imagine this impact. You guys are here to help us, I came up with this plan, and think it will help.

      Please consider me a guest speaker next time the commission speaks.

      Thanks,
      Scott

      Like

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