Finance board approves housing bonds

Helping with home purchases is one way to help attract teachers to Nevada, Housing Division Administrator Chas Horsey told the State Board of Finance on Tuesday.

Horsey said school districts say the state is facing a severe shortage of public school teachers and needs incentives to help in the competition with other states. He said the idea is a state-backed program that helps teachers willing to come to Nevada get a subsidized mortgage interest rate.

"They wouldn't have to be first time homeowners," he said. "It would be below the market rate mortgage."

He said other states are offering different kinds of incentives to attract teachers including such things a signing bonuses. And he said states like California are dramatically raising the beginning salaries of teachers.

"Conceptually, this is very good," said Gov. Kenny Guinn. "We already know that, to be competitive, we're going to have to offer incentives."

Horsey said he hopes to bring the program to the board this summer.

The board approved more than $20 million in revenue bonds to help finance two major housing projects for seniors and lower-income casino employees.

The bonds help businessmen build the projects by enabling them to finance the construction at the lower interest rates available to the state. The businesses are expected to pay back the bonds with profits from the housing projects.

A 258-unit project is being planned for downtown Reno. The City Center Apartment project will provide affordable housing within walking distance of Reno casinos and other downtown businesses for younger, primarily single workers, according to Housing Division Administrator Chas Horsey. Those bonds will total $11.6 million.

The other project is a 154-unit development in Henderson. Horizon Pines is designed to attract seniors. The bonds approved for that project will total $8.75 million.

In addition, the board approved up to $40 million in bonds for the state's ongoing Nevada Plan program. That program uses bond money to help first time home buyers.


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