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May 09

Revitalizing Our Neighborhoods

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 9:56 AM by Murray McGee

Sometimes a small gesture goes a long way. Earlier this week representatives from the Chanute Regional Development Authority made their first public presentation on a proposed Neighborhood Revitalization Program. The NRP would provide an incentive to commercial and residential property owners to make improvements to their property without concern for their taxes suddenly increasing.

The Neighborhood Revitalization Program would give property owners within designated areas of the city the opportunity to receive a tax “rebate” for 10 years on additional property taxes assessed as a result of improvements that are made that increase the value of the property by at least $10,000.

Properties in the designated areas eligible for the program would include businesses, homes as well as historic register properties. It would apply to new construction, building additions, renovations and any other improvements that increase the value of the property.

The rebates would only apply to the additional property taxes assessed as a result of the improvements and could amount to as much as 95% but would gradually decrease over the 10 year rebate period.

Besides the benefit of the tax rebate for property owners the program also provides a long term benefit for local taxing entities. They would benefit from the improvements and increase in property values. Plus, since the program assures the current rate of taxes generated by a property remain the same. The tax rebate is only applied to the improvements that are made. Therefore the taxing entities are not giving up existing tax revenues. They are foregoing some short term gains in exchange for a long term benefit of increased property values and neighborhood improvements.

The Neighborhood Revitalization Program was created by the Kansas Legislature in 1994 and is utilized by many Kansas communities and counties. According to a report from the Kansas Department of Revenue communities in 73 of the states’ 105 counties currently have the Neighborhood Revitalization Program and more are expected this year. The program is a locally controlled and administered. It requires at least two local taxing entities to participate jointly in the program.

The CRDA made its first presentation to the USD 413 board of education to give an overview of the program. We plan to meet with the Chanute City Commission to also explain the program to them.

Our hope is to put immediate attention on the main corridors coming into the community along Cherry Street, Main Street, Santa Fe and 35th Streets. An incentive could also be applied to the Osa Martin Housing addition and the Safari Industrial Park. Any neighborhoods or districts will have to be approved by the taxing entities participating in the program. 

The program can be reviewed every two years and if it is successful it can be implemented in more neighborhoods in our community. This program is a small part of economic development but it could go a long way toward making the community more attractive and encourage future investments.