City tax abatement program sparks interest
Interest in the city's tax-abatement program has picked up recently.
The city has received four applications for the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan. Previously, the city had received just four applications since the program was initiated in 1998.
Most recently, Mutual Savings, B & J Apple Market, Leavenworth Area Development and Everlasting Specialties have applied for the tax abatement.
"It's interesting and exciting now that so many have applied in the last few months," said Chris Clark, city administrator.
The plan is an economic development strategy to encourage both reinvestment and improvement in a declining urban area of the community. The purpose is to improve the overall appearance of the community, to enhance neighborhood pride, to better the quality of life for the residents and to encourage reinvestment in the area, which will eventually result in the enhancement of property values.
The plan allows for either a 95 percent rebate of taxes to spread across five years for restoration of the current residential, commercial or industrial structure or a 50 percent rebate spread over a designated number of years depending on the cost of the addition.
The plan is intended for commercial, industrial and residential usage. The city hasn't received any residential applications.
There are, basically, three steps to the application process. The first is to fill out an application.
"The key to the application is to submit it within 60 days of the building permit being issued," Clark said. "Otherwise, you're not eligible."
Clark then reviews the application and makes a recommendation. The application is then sent to the county appraiser's office.
"The county then makes sure that taxes are up-to-date," Clark said. "It, essentially, sets the level of the rebate."
After the work is complete on the addition or remodeling, the applicant sends the total cost to the county for final approval. The tax rebate would apply to the next fiscal year after it was applied for.