An issue that split the Rochester City Council last month found agreement Monday night.
“This makes abundant sense to me going forward,” Council President Randy Staver said of a revised policy change to drop a prevailing-wage requirement for developers using tax-increment financing to build affordable housing in the city.
The city currently requires developers to pay prevailing wages on projects that receive city TIF support, but some developers have indicated the wage requirements increase costs that are later reflected in rents.
Assistant City Administrator Terry Spaeth said it’s a claim that is difficult to prove with available data.
“Everything I have is anecdotal,” he told the council.
On Monday, the council unanimously supported dropping the pay requirement for affordable-housing projects using state or federal housing tax credits as more than 50% of the project’s funding sources or for multifamily rental housing projects that will provide at least half of the units at a price deemed affordable to households earning 50% of the area median income.
The approved policy change was tweaked from the original proposal to provide flexibility based on potential changes to future tax credit policies at the state or federal level.
In addition to the change to the TIF requirement, the council was unanimous in approving several affordable housing policy recommendations.
The action included acceptance of a 2020 Affordable Housing Study and priorities and continued participation in the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing, as well as maintaining existing commitment to allocate 5% of TIF to affordable housing.
The council also expressed support for continued support of affordable housing tax credit projects and potential funding for a data dashboard to monitor progress.
Other efforts include supporting a new Housing and Neighborhood Services Division within the Community Development Department and efforts to adopt a revised standard for inspection and data collection for housing quality and rental rates.