For a long time, housing has been one of the biggest problems in Potosi. Several people explained the housing situation in Potosi. In their opinions, it was difficult to find houses, but what’s important is what exactly they thought the causes were, and how Potosi as a community could fix it.

Housing is important; something every community should strive for is that people want to move there. Bigger communities get more funding; it only makes sense. If a community needs more resources, such as funding their schools, they will receive more from the government than small communities with small schools. But while other townships are growing, Potosi is actually shrinking. According to World Population Statistics, the population of Potosi has shrunk by 0.61% annually, and by 4.51% since 2010, while Dubuque has grown by 0.10% since 2010 and Platteville has grown by 9.33%. It’s doubtful that this is solely because of job opportunities; Platteville is 20 to 30 minutes away, and Dubuque is 30 minutes, and following the pattern of property values in rural and urban areas, it wouldn’t make sense for people to leave only Potosi for cities like these. Kurt Cohen, Superintendent of Potosi Schools, had this to say about job shortage in Potosi: “Job shortage is an issue to some extent as well.  We are fortunate to be within easy driving distance of larger communities [ such as Platteville, Lancaster, and Dubuque] where more jobs are available.  But with that said, more local positions would be great.” Jobs aren’t here, but we are far from isolated. Some would go on to say the problem isn’t education either; SouthWest Technical College is less than 45 minutes away, as is UW Platteville. Both education and employment are possible, but unlikely reasons. That leaves the most basic necessity: housing. 

Realtor websites show the dilapidated state the housing market Potosi is in. For example, as of right now, a one-story home built in 1967, with one owner, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bath house is listed for $239,000. In comparison, as of right now, a two-story home in Platteville built in 1890, 5 bed and 2 bath, is listed for $125,000. There is also the following statement from Becky Cohen, a math teacher at Potosi High School: “Every house we looked at [in Potosi] was either run-down or way outside our budget, so finding a house was near impossible.” Matt Eastlick had an even harder experience searching. “The choices are very limited, yes. Many houses were sold before they even hit the market. We found out about the house we bought by word-of-mouth, which seems to happen a lot now.”

This problem is on par with historical housing bubbles, where housing is rarer than unicorns, only in Potosi, it’s a daily fact, and has been for far too long. Town hall has started a program to solve this problem called the TIF  (Tax Incremental Financing) . Here’s how the TIF works, in the words of Kurt Cohen: “A TIF district is a way to attract new residential, commercial and industrial construction to an area.  Anything built in the TIF district pays normal tax amounts, but rather than the full amount of taxes being shared between the village, county, school district and vocational school, the village keeps the majority of the taxes.  Because of this increase for the village, they can sell the land at a cheaper rate and also use the extra money to build necessary roads and utilities for the new construction.” All that is needed now is a steady stream of land transactions within Potosi, so the TIF will be able to function.

The biggest problem facing Potosi right now from an economic and developmental standpoint is housing, and it’s important for citizens in Potosi know that it is currently being addressed, and hopefully in the future we see certain parcels of unused land being incorporated into the real estate market, and an appropriate and satisfying growth for our community.