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My 2-year term as State Treasurer ends in January. Until then, I’ll continue to keep you informed as to how Maine state government spends your hard-earned tax dollars to serve and help Maine citizens. Please share my Treasurer’s Blog with family, friends and co-workers, and click here to sign-up to receive them. Call Treasury at 624-7477 to schedule a time for me to speak to your group about Maine’s pressing fiscal issues.
The cost of building low-income apartments funded, in part, by tax dollars flowing through Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) is projected to drop by a whopping 25% in 2013! With an estimated 180 units to be constructed during 2013, that’s an $8.5 million savings in one year! This means more disadvantaged Maine families on waiting lists will have safe, warm, and affordable apartments to call home while taxpayers will be treated more fairly.
Click here to read the SunJournal article from last week which explains how this win-win situation progressed at Maine State Housing Authority.
Good government is finding real solutions for real problems as inexpensively as possible. In this example, the new MSHA board directed the staff to provide incentives for affordable housing developers to drive down the cost per apartment in order to receive taxpayer funding for their projects. Contractors were rewarded by finding ways to spend less to build these units while complying with state and federal building codes. The stunning result: the average cost per unit is expected to drop from $197,000 in 2012 to roughly $150,000 in 2013. This 25% savings can be recycled to help more at-risk Maine families with safe housing just as federal assistance could begin drying up.
There’s much more work to be done to further reduce the cost of affordable housing in Maine. Even so, these big savings are a great start in helping more vulnerable families into safe, warm apartments to call home. The days are gone when MSHA spends nearly $300,000 per 1,100-square-foot unit with 6,500 families on waiting lists.
Maine State Treasurer
(Mr. Poliquin's comments are as State Treasurer, not as a Trustee of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System.)
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