Ramsey County plans to levy a property tax of about $11.6 million per year for four years on its residents to fund a project to build affordable housing and support minority owned small businesses.
Ramsey County would like to activate the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) levy in 2022 to pay for this Economic Inclusion and Competitiveness Plan.
The median home value in Ramsey County is $245,700, someone in a home of this value should expect to pay approximately $45 a year under this new plan. The plan will not be entirely paid for by Ramsey County residents via this HRA levy. The County intends to leverage additional funds from state, federal and private partnerships.
A driving force behind this new plan was the clear disparities between white residents and residents of color in areas like housing, and wealth. Many of these disparities are greater in Ramsey County than they are nationwide. This is important to Ramsey County given they are the most diverse in Minnesota, with 40% of their 550,000 residents identifying as non-white.
The plan highlights 10 strategies that will guide the project, among them are: expanding affordable homeownership and housing stability and increasing the supply of affordable rental units. The plan describes more specifically the idea to develop underutilized county-owned land into affordable housing and offering loan and grants to small businesses.
Ramsey County is in dire need of affordable housing. According to their own statistics, Ramsey County needs 15,000 homes for households making between $30,000 and $50,000.
The next steps for the County are to put together a budget for 2022 and 2023 that align with this plan and to begin the process to administer the HRA levy.