Related topics

Survey to help with county housing needs

November 23, 2018 GMT

Having trouble finding housing in Butler County? A new survey aims to change that.

Marvin Planning Consultants is conducting a study on the housing needs of Butler County residents. Keith Marvin, principal community planner for the business, said this study will help with the construction of new housing units in the county.

“There’s always been a perception that there is a huge demand for housing in Butler County, especially in David City,” Marvin said. “So what this is going to look at is the whole body of the county as far as what are the needs, what are the demands, and it will also look at conditions of the homes.”

The study will take the statistical data collected from the Butler County Assessor’s Office and compare it to the results of the survey.

“What we want to do is take the data and compare it to what the perceptions are and see if the perceptions match up with the data and vice versa,” Marvin said.

Anyone who is a Butler County resident can take the survey. Marvin said a similar study was completed in 2012 and are typical done about every five years. In the 2012 study, Marvin said the survey only got 25 responses. In the current one, the survey has collected about 80 since October and Marvin said he’d be pleased if they get up to 200.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible,” Marvin said. “We need to identify people who may be paying way too much for their homes.”

The study is funded by Butler County Development, who’s board president is Mayor Alan Zavodny. Marvin said the cost $20,200, but $10,000 of which was paid with a grant from the Nebraska Investment and Finance Authority.

“If housing is an issue to them, or it it’s not, then it’s an issue to somewhere in the county to somebody, collecting thoughts and data will help.”

Mayor Alan Zavodny said the city lacks housing in the $150,000 to $200,000 price range.

“There certainly not an adequate number to meet the demand at that price range,” he said.

In April, the Nebraska Legislature passed Legislative Bill 496 (LB496) which makes small rural communities eligible to use tax increment financing to finance the construction of workforce housing. The bill defines workforce housing as an any owner-occupied home costing less than $275,000 to build. This definition also applies to rental units costing less than $200,000 per unit to build, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website.

Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a public financing method that is used to subsidize community projects. The process typically involves local governments diverting future tax revenue increases from a specific area to fund these projects. LB496 states that TIF can be used workforce housing if the construction costs exceed 50 percent of a unit’s assessed value.

For the City of David City to use TIF to potentially fund the construction of low income housing, LB496 states a housing needs study must be conducted within the past two years.

“It’s one of the tools that have to be in place to go through that process, because you gotta show need,” Mayor Alan Zavodny said about the housing survey necessary to use TIF.

The deadline to respond to the 26 question survey is Dec. 23. It can be found at the David City Offices, Butler County Chamber Offices or online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/butlercohsg2018.

Eric Schucht is a reporter with The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.