Vail Town Council readies a $500,000 emergency relief fund
Town also likely to release a $300,000 deposit for rent relief at Middle Creek Village apartments
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday laid the groundwork for a $500,000 emergency assistance fund, and is likely to help the Middle Creek Village apartments provide rent assistance to current tenants.
The council, meeting virtually via a video conference, instructed Town Manager Scott Robson to prepare a resolution that will likely be approved next week. The council, which usually meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, has agreed to meet once a week for the foreseeable future in order to act as quickly as possible.
Robson said funding assistance requests are coming in rapidly. Emergency fund requests will be vetted by a committee that includes two town council members and town staff.
Giving workers some relief
Mayor Dave Chapin said creating a fund is a “responsible way” for the town to help. It wouldn’t be a responsible use of tax money to address requests as they come in, he added.
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Councilmember Jenn Bruno said the emergency funds should be dedicated to groups dedicated to benefitting the workforce, help with housing and other essential services.
Bruno said while the funding should be aimed as much as possible at helping Vail residents and employees, a number of town employees don’t live in town. Funding should be directed to help as many of those people as possible.
Food for the needy
One of those services is supporting The Community Market, a food assistance project run by the Eagle Valley Community Foundation.
The council heard from Susie Davis, the foundation’s director of community impact.
Davis told council members that The Community Market saw about 1,900 people last week. The market usually helps about 1,100 users per week, Davis said. That includes individuals and families.
Given the rapid shutdown of the local economy due to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Davis said she expects requests at The Community Market to balloon to as many as 4,200 people per week. Given the spike, the nonprofit soon expects to see about 4,200 users per week.
While The Community Market is set monetarily for roughly two months, Davis said the nonprofit could see a shortfall of roughly $945,000 by the end of this year.
Davis said the group is reaching out to local, state and national groups to help fill that shortfall.
In addition to the $500,000 from the town’s general fund reserves, Coughlin & Company, the company that built and operates the Middle Creek Village apartments, has asked for an early return of a $300,000 security deposit that was given to the town when the apartments were built and opened in the mid-2000s.
Town housing director George Ruther told council members that the Vail Local Housing Authority Tuesday voted to approve releasing the deposit, which was originally intended to be returned after 55 years.
Ruther told council members that the release of the money will allow Middle Creek to provide rent reductions to residents for as long as three months. The complex usually takes in about $220,000 per month in revenue, Ruther said. That revenue stream could drop by half, or more, in the next few months, he added.
Bruno said it’s important that Middle Creek residents stay in town. But, she added, it’s essential that money from the deposit goes toward rent relief for residents.
The council will have to approve both the emergency fund and the deposit release with resolutions. The group is expected to approve both those resolutions at next week’s special meeting. The date and time of that meeting will be determined later this week.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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