Letter to the Editor - Submitted March 15, 2019

There has been much debate about ‘housing’ in the Village of Cottage Grove Trustee election.  I would like to address one of the hot button issues: The term ‘Affordable Housing’. Affordable housing does not mean ‘Low-Income Housing’.


The definition of affordable is having a cost that is not too high.  The housing market of Cottage Grove has outpaced incomes of Dane County – thus making Cottage Grove unaffordable for the majority of families in Dane County.  


According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development market information from June 2017, the average annual wage in Dane County is $52,980.  Further breakdown by industry is as follows: Financial Industry average $70,121 annual salary; Professional and Business Services average $65,910 annual salary; and Public Administration average $54,717 annual salary. According to a 2016 publication by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at UW Madison, the average annual salary for a Monona Grove School District teacher is $48,421.


On March 14, 2019, there were 33 homes listed for sale in Cottage Grove.  List prices ranged from $249,900 to $699.900 with the average listing price of $412,239, and the median listing price of $389,500.  Participating in the housing market of Cottage Grove is near impossible for the majority of families in Dane County.


Salary ranges needed to afford a home in Cottage Grove far exceed the average salary for Dane County residents.  For example, a two-income family of two Monona Grove School District teachers could barely afford one of the few homes listed at the lowest range of housing options. 


For those of you like me, who have lived in Cottage Grove for a number of years, I pose this question to you – “Would your income support the purchase of a home in Cottage Grove today?” We need to provide affordable housing options for average, middle class residents of Dane County – including condos, apartments, duplexes, and smaller-scale single-family homes.


Sarah Valencia

Candidate for Cottage Grove Village Trustee

Sarah Valencia