Program would target new residents, Tracy businesses alike

By Per Peterson

Because of the potential of an increasing number of people moving from the Twin Cities or other areas, combined with the number of jobs available in Tracy, the implementation of a new plan known as the Down Payment Assistance Program is being discussed in Tracy.

The program, introduced at last week’s Tracy EDA meeting, would give an allowance, or grant, to people who move to Tracy for a job and would offer down payment assistance in the form of a grant or a low-interest loan.

EDA Director Jeff Carpenter said the reasons behind the program are many fold and can serve both ends of the spectrum. The program is designed to entice people to move to Tracy and at the same time help employers find needed workers; and help people fulfill the dream of owning a home, while assisting Tracy realtors in filling homes.

The program would potentially help employees who have taken jobs in Tracy in paying for moving expenses and offer them down payment assistance. There are a number of guidelines pertaining to the program. The recipient must qualify for a grant/loan/moving allowance, and current income limits would be used as guidelines. Any property a person or family would move into must be located within city limits, and home buyers must be able to obtain a first mortgage from a lender and sign a contract for length of employment or payback of the grant/allowance. All approvals are at the discretion of the EDA board and city administrator.

The next step for the program to take hold would be for the EDA to present the program to the city council for approval or resolution on April 13, since it would require some kind of budget allocation.

“We want to try to grow the city, and we have businesses in town that have needs and can’t find people locally to do their jobs,” Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen said. “Conceptually, the idea is that we pay people to move to Tracy by giving them a job and helping them find a place to live. Other communities are doing some similar kinds of things.”

The program for Tracy is in its juvenile stage and doesn’t have an official name yet, but was warmly-received by the EDA board.

“I think it’s a good idea to have something as part of our overall marketing campaign for the city,” said board vice-Chair Tom Morin. “It just gives us another option to attract people to our community.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.