Blueprint: Budget Approved, Airport Gateway Stays, Affordable Housing Project Voted Down

Blueprint: Budget Approved, Airport Gateway Stays, Affordable Housing Project Voted Down

On Thursday, May 16, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency (IA) held a budget workshop followed by a regular meeting in city hall. City Commissioner Curtis Richardson was not present during either meeting.

Budget Workshop

At the budget workshop, staff recommended that elected officials vote to accept the IA proposed fiscal year 2025 operating budget and capital improvement program.

The FY 2025 budget proposal projects $53.7 million in revenue. The budget includes a $144.13 million capital improvement program during FY2025-2029 related to 32 key community projects, funds eight regional mobility, gateway, and placemaking projects.

These projects include the continuation of construction for the Northeast Gateway, Orange-Meridian Park, North Monroe Gateway, Market District Park, Lake Jackson Greenway, Capital Circle Southwest Greenway, as well as initiation of construction for the Northeast Connector: Bannerman Road, Airport Gateway and Capital Cascades Trail Segment 4 projects.

The budget also funds all existing OEV programs, including funding for the Competitive Project Fund and the Future Opportunity Leveraging Fund.

During the workshop, issues were raised by several elected officials related to the status of the Airport Gateway project. The project has been in limbo since County Commissioner Chritsian Caban raised concerns about the costs of the project.

During a previous IA meeting, officials voted to cut the Airport Gateway funding.

However, despite the concerns by some officials over costs, it appears there are note enough votes (a super majority) needed to alter the scope of the Airport Gateway.

The IA budget recommendations were approved by Leon County Commissioners Carolyn Cummings, Rick Minor, Brian Welch and Nick Maddox, Mayor Dailey and City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox.

Blueprint IA Meeting

After the budget workshop, the Blueprint IA meeting took place. Elected officials heard an update related to North Florida Innovation Labs and ratified the budget workshop decisions.

The vote to ratify actions taken during the budget workshop passed with support from Leon County Commissioners Brain Welch, Rick Minor, Carolyn Cummings, Nick Maddox, Mayor John Dailey, and City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox.

Those voting against the item were Leon County Commissioners David O’Keefe, Bill Proctor, Christian Caban and City Commissioners Jack Porter and Jeremy Matlow.

Affordable Housing

After the budget vote, the IA addressed affordable housing. During the March 2024 meeting, the IA voted 8-4 to begin an “amendment process to allow infrastructure funds to purchase land for mixed-income affordable rentals including units for families with very-low and extremely-low income.”

Leon County Commissioners Carolyn Cummings, Nick Maddox, Bill Proctor & David O’Keefe supported the measure while Commissioners Brian Welch and Christian Caban voted no.

From the Tallahassee City Commission, Commissioners Jack Porter, Jeremy Matlow, and Curtis Richardson voted yes, while Mayor John Dailey and Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox voted no.

According to staff, the process to amend the current list of Blueprint projects requires two public hearings and a supermajority vote, which is at least four (4) City Commissioners and five (5) County Commissioners voting in favor of the amendment.

The vote to address affordable happened in March despite the fact that elected officials were told by Blueprint staff that using sales surtax funds for affordable housing land acquisition would result in insufficient funds to complete the currently approved Blueprint Infrastructure projects.

During the May 16 meeting, a vote to substantially amend and include affordable housing as a Blueprint project failed with a 7-4 vote. To pass, the item needed support from five county commissioners and four city commissioners.

On the Leon County Commission side, Minor, Proctor, Maddox, O’Keefe, & Cummings voted yes, while Welch and Caban voted no. City Commissioners Porter & Matlow voted yes, while Mayor John Dailey and City Commissioner Williams-Cox voted no.

Advocates for the affordable housing proposal argued that the need is so great that a Blueprint project was appropriate.

Critics of the proposal noted that no money would be available even if an affordable housing project was approved and therefore the project would not address the current need.

13 Responses to "Blueprint: Budget Approved, Airport Gateway Stays, Affordable Housing Project Voted Down"

  1. Correction: Pricier apartments can be used to “offset” the inclusion of workforce housing. Our workforce professionals are proud citizens. Much respect. ?

  2. Workforce housing: fall in the 60 to 100 percent of area median income. Includes healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters, even college graduates at of just above entry level positions. Most seem hardworking, responsible, and drug free to me. Developers can include a percentage of housing for the above professionals in the entire scope of the project that can be subsidized by more upscale pricier apartments included the same project. But Tallahassee needs stop with the anti-development policies in the urban core. Start with streamlining permitting, abolishing height restrictions and eliminating parking garages for some projects in the urban core.

  3. Affordable Housing, Workforce Housing, and Low Income Housing are just different ways of saying what use to be known as “The Projects”. Taxpayer funded/subsidized slums is all.

    As the old saying goes… changing the name is just putting lipstick on a pig.

    People will live where they can afford to live. If you want to live in a nicer place, work harder, stay off drugs, and take responsibility for your life’s status. Taxpayers should not be forced to finance your feelings of inadequacy.

    Besides, weren’t we told that $15 an-hour would solve all of this?

    Fooled again, Batman.

  4. So no, I do not support a project that is 100% low income. It’s non-inclusive and creates segregation between the have and have nots. It is also not affordable for developers. I support workforce housing with some low income residents and without ridiculous height limitations so that the project is more affordable to build. No city ownership!!

  5. Workforce housing can include a percentage of low income housing. Some professionals prefer a more urban vibrant downtown. Everyone does not need to live in the suburbs. But city ownership and height restrictions of 7 stories in the city core will not work and is a terrible idea. The city does not have the funds to buy up property and build housing for ownership. Also, government owned housing is non taxable property which does not generate tax revenue needed to provide basic services. This is why socialism does not work.

    I am just saying let the market and developers decide the appropriate stories. One way to help help developers is getting rid of parking requirements in areas with multimodal transportation. Also, if the city commissioners can approve a 10 story hotel and student housing project on Tennessee Street, then why would they limit the height for workforce housing if the developer wants to construct a taller structure for profitability.

  6. @ 850 You bashed David’s idea which is just about Low Income Housing only. He didn’t even bring up workforce, residents or college housing. His idea for Low Income Housing is good. A Church on West Tennessee Street is talking about building workforce housing on a vacant city block across from the Church that fronts West Tennessee with funding help from the County and City. The problem is that, all the new Subdivisions being built start at $250K and UP.

  7. Well I am referring to workforce housing. The demand is in the thousands and 72 units is far less that what is needed. Developers aren’t itching to build 40 story apartment buildings downtown, but should not be limited to just 6 stories if the market is there for more. We need housing for existing residents as well as the college graduates the city is trying to attract. Need more aggressive ideas but without city ownership.

  8. Lets be honest, it’s not Affordable Housing they are talking about, it’s Subsidized Housing. Since taxes will be used to pay some or most of the rent I like David’s idea of the apartment buildings. At 6 stories, with 12 apartments per floor, you get 72 apartments in a small footprint.

  9. The city buying and owning land is not the answer. The CRA already has ownership of the former homeless shelter and downtown properties which remain vacant.

    Also, in the urban core, the developers need to determine how many stories are profitable for building apartments. See Live Local Act which was implemented to encourage workforce housing because cities like Tallahassee have unnecessary restrictions that make it difficult to promote workforce housing and other developments in the urban core.

  10. 5, 6, and 7 stories apartment buildings? Ridiculous. This is why the Florida Legislature past the Live Local Act because developers need to determine what height is profitable to build apartment buildings. Tallahassee is not a village, it’s a city and 7 stories should not be a defined restriction in the urban core.

  11. Blueprint has no business being involved in “Affordable Housing”. That is not why they were created. Lets be honest, there is no such thing as “Affordable Housing” for Low Income Households, barely any for Lower Middle Income Households. We need to think Apartment Buildings, 5-6-7 Stories High. They have a smaller Footprint and cost less if you don’t over design them. The City needs to own and run them. When you pay an outside Company to do it, you are throwing good Money after bad and it is a lot of Money wasted.

  12. Affordable Housing: Ahhhh, yes… the ol’ political bait-n-switch. Promise one thing, flip to another. Keep an eye on the LLC’s that suddenly start buying up land that miraculously ends up on the list of land to buy using taxpayer funds at a considerable mark-up.

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