While it is good to see that Bluffton has completed its Wharf Street project, we should also reflect on the missed opportunity.
The project cost was $1.2 million to produce six units of affordable housing. It doesn't take much math to question whether these houses really fit the definition of "affordable." We also don't know what additional costs there might be, such as the town's personnel costs to administer the program, review candidates and choose participants. And what happens if an owner defaults or wants to move?
Citizens are looking for effective government. Six units of housing is great, but a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and other organizations would have produced 12 to 15 units at much more affordable prices for potential buyers. Furthermore, Habitat has surrounded its building efforts with the programs to create long-term success -- requiring buyers to put "sweat equity" into building the house, education on financing and personal budgets and procedures for handling the sale of houses as people achieve success.
Let's be glad we have added to Blufftons inventory of affordable housing. Let's hope we can be far more effective with our tax dollars in the future.