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Aspen-Pitkin Co. Housing Authority Legal Status Questioned

Courtesy Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority

The legal status of Aspen's local housing authority is in question and its board of directors will discuss the problem tonight. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason reports.

A 2012 memo from a Denver attorney says the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority has been stripped, over time, of its policy-making functions, so that its board doesn’t have the power it’s supposed to have under state laws. Instead, the city manager’s office controls the housing agency.

In an amended intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, between the housing authority, the city and the county, the board of directors’ power was reduced. That was in the mid-2000s, and it meant the board no longer handles APCHA's core activities like the annual budget, hiring the executive director, housing development and other duties. The board now only advises the city of Aspen on those matters.

Marcia Goshorn is a longtime board member who is running for city council. She says it’s not right that the board has been effectively removed from the decision making process. While APCHA’s legal status is open for interpretation, Goshorn believes it’s out of step from the state rules.

 “The housing authority board basically doesn’t get to see anything that the city does. When they hired the new director, we read about it in the newspaper. The housing authority was set up under state statute. It’s a standalone entity. It can’t be controlled by any one government entity.”

Upon learning that Aspen Public Radio has the confidential memo outlining the board’s restricted power, housing authority executive director Mike Kosdrosky emailed board members yesterday about the matter. He says they should make it public for the sake of transparency and “political practicality.” It’s expected to be discussed a public meeting tonight.

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