Archive for Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tax rebate would revitalize

Plan would encourage improvements in neighborhoods, downtown

The City of Lawrence is trying to create incentives for some business owners and homeowners to spruce up their properties. Under a plan being considered tonight by the City Commission, certain homes and businesses, such as Wild Territory in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street, would receive tax rebates for improvements.

The City of Lawrence is trying to create incentives for some business owners and homeowners to spruce up their properties. Under a plan being considered tonight by the City Commission, certain homes and businesses, such as Wild Territory in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street, would receive tax rebates for improvements.

June 19, 2007

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Douglas County Appraiser Marion Johnson

Douglas County Appraiser Marion Johnson explains what type of improvements homeowners can make to their properties that would increase the value of their homes and thus possibly qualify them for the tax rebate program.

Tax rebate plan goes before commissioners

Property owners in some of Lawrence's oldest neighborhoods may soon have an incentive to complete home-remodeling projects. City leaders also consider whether to require all of Lawrence's rental properties to register with the city. Enlarge video

Commission to discuss apartment inspections

The idea of requiring every apartment in Lawrence to be registered with City Hall will be discussed at tonight's City Commission meeting.

Commissioners are scheduled to discuss the idea - proposed by the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods - as part of their 2008 budget deliberations.

City Hall leaders have said the registration program, which would require a city inspection of apartment complexes, ultimately would be self-supporting through fees. But the program likely would need upward of $300,000 in city funds to start.

The city has a registration and inspection program for rental units in single-family zoned neighborhoods. But apartment complexes and other rental units in multifamily zoned areas are not required to be registered with the city.

Neighborhood leaders have argued for an expanded registration program to help ensure living conditions are being well-maintained. Leaders in the apartment industry have argued against the proposal, saying it would add unnecessary costs onto rents and that there hasn't been evidence of widespread problems in apartment complexes.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 tonight at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

For property owners in downtown Lawrence and five of the city's older neighborhoods, soon the check really may be in the mail.

And the check may be coming from an unlikely source: the tax man.

City commissioners tonight are scheduled to discuss a new policy that would allow property owners in the downtown, Brook Creek, East Lawrence, North Lawrence, Oread and Pinckney neighborhoods to receive significant property tax rebates if they revitalize or redevelop their homes or businesses.

"It sounds like a great idea," said Tom Wilcox, owner of Round Corner Drug and Cheese Shop, 801 Mass. "I think every time a building is improved, it saves a little piece of our soul. I think there are a lot of people who have the potential to do more with their buildings, but they need a little push."

The push may come from the Neighborhood Revitalization Act, a state law that allows cities to rebate a portion of property taxes on improvements made in targeted neighborhoods. Here's how it would work:

¢ Property owners who make improvements that increase the value of their property by at least $10,000 in the five target neighborhoods - or $5,000 downtown - would be eligible for the rebate program.

¢ The program envisions a 95 percent rebate on certain property taxes paid to the city, county and school district. The rebate would last for 10 years.

¢ Property owners would receive a rebate only on the taxes paid on the improvements. For example, if the owner of a $100,000 home made $20,000 in improvements, the property owner would continue to pay the full amount of property taxes on the $100,000 portion of the home. But for the $20,000 worth of improvement, the property owner essentially only would pay 5 percent of the property taxes on that portion of the home's value.

Plenty of potential

Wilcox said that would have been a welcome policy when several years ago he spent about $120,000 to add office space on the upper floor of his downtown building.

"I possibly would have done more improvements if there would have been a program like that," Wilcox said. "I originally wanted to put apartments in there, but it just got too expensive."

Leaders in the neighborhoods also are excited about the possibilities the rebate program could have.

"One thing about our neighborhood is that there are a lot of economically modest homeowners there," said Steve Braswell, president of the Pinckney Neighborhood Association. "Anything that could help them figure out how to make an improvement would be a help."

The city chose the neighborhoods because they are the only five in Lawrence with a majority of low- to moderate-income households as defined by the Census Bureau.

Neighborhood leaders have said they think the rebate program could be particularly attractive to people looking to build affordable housing on vacant lots in the area.

That's because if a lot is vacant a property owner could build a home there and pay 100 percent of the property taxes on the land's value but only 5 percent of property taxes on the home for the first 10 years.

A boon for businesses

Downtown leaders think property owners there would find the rebate program particularly useful in adding apartments or condos on the upper floors of buildings. They said that, in turn, would help retail businesses downtown.

"The old saying goes that retail follows rooftops," said Shay Elder, an owner of the furniture shop Eangee, 933 Mass. Elder has been studying the Neighborhood Revitalization Act for Downtown Lawrence Inc. "If you add people living downtown, you are going to have more customers on a more regular basis."

Martin Moore, president of Advanco Inc., a Lawrence-based development firm, said the rebate program could spur even larger redevelopment of downtown.

"It probably will make people look at consolidating properties a little harder than they have before," Moore said. "It is the type of thing that could make some deals become feasible that maybe weren't previously."

City commissioners will review the proposed policy at their 6:35 p.m. meeting today at City Hall. Commissioners are being asked to provide feedback on the policy and direct staff to begin discussing the program with county and school district leaders. The county and school district would have to sign off on the program if property owners were to receive a rebate from those two governments.

Comments

Keith 8 years, 1 month ago

Wow, I guess our tax shortfall crisis is over? If we can afford tax rebates for downtown, I guess we won't be needing that 1/2% sales tax increase now.

A_Guy 8 years, 1 month ago

This program wouldn't rebate any property taxes being paid right now, only the increase in property taxes being paid because of property improvements worth at least $5,000. The idea is that the City gets to collect all the same property taxes they do now, and in 10 years, all that increase from the improvements (and most of those improvements wouldn't happen without this program). It's a long term solution that should benefit the City.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

"Property owners who make improvements that increase the value of their property by at least $10,000 in the five target neighborhoods - or $5,000 downtown - would be eligible for the rebate program."

5% increase in value? What, a new window? A flag pole?

"he city chose the neighborhoods because they are the only five in Lawrence with a majority of low- to moderate-income households as defined by the Census Bureau."

Oh, give me a break. Some of the wealthiest, and, obviously, most influential, people in town own property in those areas. Sure, maybe the residents are low to moderate income, but they are tenants; the property owners are flush with cash.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

This somehow feels discriminatory to me. More smoke and mirrors to benefit downtown property owners who have already gotten the taxpayers to pay for most of their sprinklers, beautification and promotion. I wonder if there is an entity desiring big tax breaks in order to add living area above some of those buildings, or an entity desiring to build on a vacant lot ? Exactly what are the parameters of downtown, anyway?

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

Does this mean Richard Heckler will use this, if enacted, to spruce up his house. Just think you could put solar and wind energy generation equipment in your house, if you don't already have it. You would be able to reduce your energy consumption, pay sales tax for the equipment and pay someone to install it.

A_Guy 8 years, 1 month ago

Did a quick search, looks like almost every city in Johnson County has or is going to use this program. Also looks like its all over Leavenwoth County, Wichita, Wyandotte County, and maybe Shawnee County. Anyone know how its worked out for those who have tried it?

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

If this is such a good idea, why limit it to certain neighborhoods?

blackwalnut 8 years, 1 month ago

What buildings downtown does Doug Compton own, besides the boarded-up-and-rotting Masonic Temple? Is this so Compton can fix up the Masonic Temple?

blackwalnut 8 years, 1 month ago

Godot says, Oh, give me a break. Some of the wealthiest, and, obviously, most influential, people in town own property in those areas. Sure, maybe the residents are low to moderate income, but they are tenants; the property owners are flush with cash.

This is 100% correct. We are being scammed, again.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

What, exactly, is "east Lawrence?" Is it anything east of Mass? Would that include the property along K-10 across from Farmland that is in the approval process for development that includes a grocery store and shopping center?

Jamesaust 8 years, 1 month ago

"They said that, in turn, would help retail businesses downtown."

Won't it just drive up the assessed value of property that does NOT improve? Doesn't the tax assessor use neighboring property as a proxy for value? Isn't the whole assessment process based upon the "best use" of property and isn't the "best use" often any use involving the maximum betterment of property? I would hate to be the neighbor of one of these properties whose own valuation rises despite not being part of this rebate plan. If you want to drive marginal business out of downtown, this is the plan to do so. (I'm not saying that's a bad idea but rather the consequences cut against those biased against corporate downtown business. Will we afterward adopt a corrective, "local" business tax subsidy to fix what this rebate furthers?)

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

blackwalnut said, that Godot said, Oh, give me a break. Some of the wealthiest, and, obviously, most influential, people in town own property in those areas. Sure, maybe the residents are low to moderate income, but they are tenants; the property owners are flush with cash.

Then blackwalnut said, This is 100% correct. We are being scammed, again.

And they both have it correct! It is just a way make improvements to property downtown and have the taxpayers foot the bill. How many downtown landlords are already having taxpayers help pay for fire sprinklers? Bet their insurance premiums go down after that as well. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/apr...

I would not oppose a program targeted at low income families no matter where they live in Lawrence, but this is just another way to take scarce tax dollars and throw it at downtown landlords so they can improve their personal wealth.

When will the Lawrence taxpayers wake up from this dream where they believe downtown Lawrence is "their downtown" and we have to protect it?? It's not yours, excepting the taxes and the cost to maintain it!

karensisson 8 years, 1 month ago

OK, I'm taking bets this is an attempt to get Doug Compton a whole bunch of tax money to fix up the Masonic Temple on Mass which he bought and boarded up with gruesome-looking rotting plywood. Now I know why he's been sitting on the thing and letting it be an eyesore instead of fixing it up. Waiting for the bought and paid for city commission to give him tax money.

Just a wild guess, and I could be wrong.

But my gut tells me this is true.

oldvet 8 years, 1 month ago

Just a thought... what are the real numbers we are talking about here... A person owns a building/home worth $200K. They put another $100K into it and now the valuation is $300K. (Now, that may be a stretch, as you might not get value of $1 for $1 invested, but just assume it does) The original tax bill was about $1500 per year and now the new tax bill is about $2200 per year. (And this is only approximate and based on a few valuations I am close to, I know it probably isn't a sliding scale, but bear with me...). According to this plan, the owner would only pay the original $1500 per year plus $35 (5% of the increase based on the improvement) for 10 years, thereafter they pay the full $700 increase. This means that they save $6650 (10 years x $665/year) over the life of the deal. So the city makes an additional $350 that would not have been there otherwise. And these numbers take no account of additional property valuations that would be taxable over the years based on inflation, mill levy increases, etc. BUT... the property owner put out $100,000 to save this $6,650... so $100k gets spent in the community to make improvements (have to be some salaries and product margins in there somewhere). This cannot be a money-making deal for the property owners... It truly sounds like a great incentive to improve the city and I agree with an earlier statement that we should expand this to include ALL structures in Lawrence, maybe limited only by some time frame on the age of the structure, say 5 or 10 years old. Money gets spent in the communities and the tax base grows...

Centrist 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm all for it ... EXCEPT ... that this should be a much lower percentage tax rebate and applied across the board to ALL property owners within the city limits.

Oh, but wait - isn't there a SHORTFALL in the budget?

Yep, sounds like a deal for certain individuals / companies. Elitism in Lawrence - imagine that.

And why are they ignoring North Lawrence YET AGAIN.

If anywhere needs help, it's the north and (far) east sides, not the pseudo-trendy overpriced 'inner' areas of Lawrence.

What does it take for these fools to understand what our community really NEEDS?

sourpuss 8 years, 1 month ago

Well, considering that it will not be reducing the tax base, just giving a 10 year abatement for -improvements- and considering that I live in one of the target neighborhoods, I'm all for it. We don't have a lot of money anyway and every time we improve our property, our taxes go up. If you want to encourage improvements, this is the way to go.

Oh, and to the poster that said that all this property is owned by richies, Brook Creek definitely is not. There are some nice properties over there, but overall, it is very working class and young families.

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

Oldvet, so your happy with me improving my property, increasing its value, and reducing my taxes to help pay for it, and when I sell the property I get to keep the increased value? No problem, I plan to put a new roof on right before I sell it increasing the value. Where should I tell the roofers to send you the bill?

Again, I have no problem with low income families who own their own home using this program. But downtown landlords who can afford and should maintain their own income producing investment property? Get real.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

Neighborhoods should not be targeted based on need when the need is determined by the income of the residents as opposed to the income of the property owners.

There are plenty of properties in my neighborhood that need some rehab, and that are inhabited by retired people on fixed incomes, but my neighborhood isn't a "target." Why shouldn't we get the same breaks?

If this is such a good idea, spread it around to all the neighborhoods. Put an age limit on the homes, say, must be at least 20 years old or something.

And this thing of allowing a new house to be tax free for 10 years is completely ridiculous.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

b3, how does it increase the tax base? The improvements are not to be taxed for 10 years. Who knows what will happen then?

blackwalnut 8 years, 1 month ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says:

Make it REAL or else forget about it!

How about some REAL "rebates"

(1) 100% tax CREDIT for solar heating and hot water supplies.

(2) 100% tax CREDIT for improved insulation in homes and businesses.

(3) 100% tax CREDIT for improvements made to ANY structure; residential or commercial, which has an "Historic" desgination.

(4) 100% tax CREDIT for updating any HVAC system over ten years old to modern, energy efficent units.


I agree with Marion 100%. Marion, we have to stop agreeing like this!

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

Here is the Kansas Attorney General's opinion of the Neighborhood Revitalization Act http://www.kscourts.org/ksag/opinions/1996/1996-038.htm

NOTE: Neighborhood Revitalization Act is designed to improve blighted areas in municipalities by encouraging property owners to improve their properties through the use of property tax rebates.

When exactly did Downtown Lawrence become a "blighted area?"

Here is the program at work for Delaware Commons, when did it become a "blighted area?" http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/web_based_agendas_2006/04-04-06/04-04-06h/ls_nr_staff_memo_re_delaware_commons_project.html

Here is the project for Pennsylvania Street Redevelopment Project: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/web_based_agendas/01-09-07/01-09-07h/ls_Harris_development_agreement_12_31_06.html

Wake up Lawrence. This program which is good in concept (low income homeowners in blighted neighborhoods) is being used to line the pockets of wealthy Downtown Landlords and Developers. The low income homeowners in blighted neighborhoods will see very little of the Lawrence taxpayers generosity.

But you will get to pay the higher sales taxes when you go Downtown to look at the improvements YOU paid for.

Jack Hope III 8 years, 1 month ago

remodelled my house in North Lawrence five years too early :-(

lynnd 8 years, 1 month ago

I believe the interest in this program began with Harris' proposal of it for his new development at 8th and Penn, and surrounding neighborhoods began requesting it to be applied more broadly. I give kudos to the current commission for being willing to explore expanding it to the neighborhood residents, who need these rebates more than the developers do.

No one has said that it couldn't possibly be expanded to other neighborhoods in Lawrence besides the target neighborhoods. It has to start somewhere. I'm actually pleasantly surprised that the commission is considering it so soon after applying it to 8th and Penn. Some of you complaining about this are the same folks who are constantly trashing East Lawrence and other neighborhoods as being dumps; now when a potential solution comes along that might help property owners be able to afford to make improvements, you complain again. This isn't taking money out of anyone's pockets. If the program isn't in place, many potential improvements would never happen, so the taxes wouldn't have been paid anyway.

J Good Good 8 years, 1 month ago

At least in non-downtown lower income neighrborhoods, it had originally been framed as available to owner coccupied only. Don't know if that has changed, but that was the original plan.

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

For single family residences in blighted neighborhoods, I'm in. For Downtown real estate speculators, nope, no way, nada.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years, 1 month ago

Who cares if landlords will benefit from this? If it makes their rental property nicer, that's a plus. Why should low-income renters be forced to live in dilapidated rental homes? I'm all for this measure. There are some old homes in these neighborhoods that have the potential to look great. It will make the neighborhoods better.

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

So the lesson learned here is, be a "slum lord" and we will give you a tax break? Again, totally and completely absurd. This program can be limited and should be limited to apply to individuals, who own and live in their own home, in blighted neighborhoods. http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatute.do?number=4090

For your blighted Downtown Lawrence, Kansas has another set of programs "Downtown Redevelopment Act" http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatute.do?number=4096

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

This program CAN be limited to areas which are predominately owner occupied or criteria that limits eligibility for the program to owner occupied. 12-17,117. Same; revitalization plan, contents; notice and hearing. (a) Prior to designating an area as a neighborhood revitalization area or a structure to be a dilapidated structure, the governing body shall adopt a plan for the revitalization of such area or designation of a dilapidated structure. Such plan shall include: (1) A legal description of the real estate forming the boundaries of the proposed area and a map depicting the existing parcels of real estate; .... (7) the criteria to be used by the governing body to determine what property is eligible for revitalization; http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatute.do?number=4092

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Compton I believe also bought the used sporting goods store(standing empty),Granada(an eyesore) which could be restored, mexican food place across from Pachamama's and may also own the Ingredients bldg... there must be others. Now if only Mr. Compton & Co would take the time to bring decent retail to town.

Then there is the Allen Press building...does this ring any bells and World Company properties. Hmmmmmm.

Perhaps the Casbah natural food store will be able to get a break although the remodel is well underway... good job. Sarahs Fabric did the job without the rebate...good job! Genovese people did also...Good Job!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Tom Wilcox for taking the initiative without prodding. The refurbished space upstairs is working. Mark Taylor's hair styling has a great view on the upstairs corner.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years, 1 month ago

This program can be limited and should be limited to apply to individuals, who own and live in their own home, in blighted neighborhoods.

In other words, "If you're a low income renter you don't deserve to live in a nice house."

Why do people take such pleasure in keeping poor people down?

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

I love how people think that Federal money is "free." I guess, in a way, it is free to us; we'll never pay off the loans that are funding the national debt, we are just sticking our grandkids with the bill.

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

Merrill, since when did Downtown Lawrence (The Cheese Shoppe, Raney Drugs, et al.) become a blighted neighborhood needing tax subsidies under a Kansas Law entitled, "Kansas Neighborhood Revitalization Act?"

When the landlord's in blighted areas get the tax subsidies, what makes you think they won't charge higher rents for their improved properties to their low income renters? I'm not keeping poor people down, I'm keeping a tax relief program targeted to the homeowners of properties who live in blighted neighborhoods a tax break for investing in their homes, which was the intention of the act.

blackwalnut 8 years, 1 month ago

Anonymous user

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho (Anonymous) says:

This program can be limited and should be limited to apply to individuals, who own and live in their own home, in blighted neighborhoods.

In other words, "If you're a low income renter you don't deserve to live in a nice house."

Why do people take such pleasure in keeping poor people down?


You really, really misunderstand what is going on here. If landlords get tax breaks to fix up properties they rent to tenants, the landlord's property becomes worth more benefiting his bottom line, but it also becomes worth more as rental property and the landlord will JACK UP the rent! The free lunch here is for the landlord - not the tenant.

It is precisely because we don't want the rich to benefit at the expense of the poor that we are criticizing this wrong application of this plan.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

15 year tax abatement for properties that are "historic." So the owners get "free" state and federal money to refurbish the buildings, then they get a break on their taxes for 15 years. Heck, why not just use eminent domain to take the properties, so the city commissioners can have fun fixing them up to match their vision of Lawrence?

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years, 1 month ago

It is precisely because we don't want the rich to benefit at the expense of the poor that we are criticizing this wrong application of this plan.

Okay, so low-income renters should be glad to live in a dilapidated house. Got it.

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

Kam. Nope, the low income renters should live in your place for free, get free prescriptions from Raney's Drugs, and eat lunch at the Cheese Shoppe for free. Happy now?

blackwalnut 8 years, 1 month ago

Godot (Anonymous) says: I love how people think that Federal money is "free."

I sure don't think it is free. I paid for part of it with my federal tax dollars. That's the trouble with pork, though: We all share in the cost of the pig because we all pay federal taxes, and when some communities get a ham and we don't get any, we feel shortchanged. Is it so wrong to be glad that a pork chop from the pig we helped pay for would come home to our own community?

We pay those federal taxes that buy the pork for everyone else. I'd rather see no pork at all go to anyone. And I don't want to pay for the pork that goes to others, either. The government can't afford basic services like education and health care, so why the pork? Answer: PAC money and corruption in Congress. Just like the corruption we're seeing here in River City.

oldvet 8 years, 1 month ago

Sigmund,

I'm sorry that it has taken me so long today to respond to your posting at 11:07 this morning... some business, then travel out of town for some meetings tomorrow...

So you asked about having a roof put on your home, a home that you are planning on selling... let's run the numbers....

You have a house worth $X (plug in any number you want). You decide to put a roof on the house before you sell it and, for the numbers here, we will assume you spend the minimum improvement mentioned of $10K. Assuming (and this could be a BIG if) your house appreciates the entire $10K with the addition of the roof, you now have a house worth $X+10K and the new appraisal reflects that new valutation for tax purposes. But the tax you will effectively pay will be your entire old tax amount of $Y (based on the value of $X) PLUS 5% of the increase (I'm thinking that is somewhere around $100/year additional for a $10K improvement) thus you pay only $5 of that increase for 10 years, or $Y+$5. After the 10 years you pay the entire load of $Y+$100.

Ah, but you are going to sell the house... so you sell the house for the new valuation of $X+$10K, since you have put on a new roof that increased the value by $10K (the BIG if). Now, before the roof, you would have received $X for the house and after spending $10K out of your pocket you receive $X+$10K, for a net increase to you of exactly $0 for spending $10K out of your pocket to put on a new roof. But the tax basis for the house has gone up by the $10K you improved the house... so there is no reason to send me the bill, as you got out nice and clean in this transaction (allowing for the BIG if). And no tax payers footed your bill, as the valuation actually went up on your house and you paid the additional $5 of taxes out of your pocket until the house sold. Oops.. I guess you didn't quite break even by putting on the roof before you sold the house...

Which raises another good question... does the tax rebate period for the increased valuation terminate if the property is sold by the original person making the improvement. I think that stipulation would be a good one to include in this deal...

Hope that helps you decide if you are going to put the roof on before your sale...

George_Braziller 8 years, 1 month ago

Godot - So where do I get this supposedly "free state and federal money to refurbish" my house? I can get a federal tax credit if I spend a minimum of $5,000 and provide matching funds. I can submit a grant application for "free" money for a project that may or may not be approved by a review team. I can get "free" money for a very small percentage of what I spend on restoration or preservation. Tax abatements are NOT 100% of the entire appraised or assessed value. You are showing that you are clueless about what of what you are spouting.

"Godot (Anonymous) says:

15 year tax abatement for properties that are "historic." So the owners get "free" state and federal money to refurbish the buildings, then they get a break on their taxes for 15 years. Heck, why not just use eminent domain to take the properties, so the city commissioners can have fun fixing them up to match their vision of Lawrence?"

oldvet 8 years, 1 month ago

Hawk,

you are correct, a new roof probably would not increase your valuation... but that was the example Sigmund wanted to use, so I continued his story with some numbers... we could have just as easily said add a room or replace all of the old windows or put in a pool... the numbers work the same. And he made the supposition that he would recover the total cost on selling. And the only way you will get the tax break on the increased valuation is for the valuation to actually go up as a result of your improvements... that might require you to ask for the new valuation (what a concept!!!). That is also why I called the increased valuation and the increased selling price based on a new roof the "BIG if"... I would bet that a real estate professional would tell us that a new roof might make a house easier to sell but probably won't pay you back dollar-for-dollar... I've always heard that a professionally remodeled (updated) kitchen or an additional bathroom were the biggest pay-backs when you sell. Remember, you only get the tax break on the INCREASE in your tax valuation. The old base is still taxed and paid at the full rate.

Sigmund 8 years, 1 month ago

Oldvet, in your analysis I paid money for the improvement and my net worth BEFORE taxes is unchanged, fine. No taxpayer paid a penny to subsidize this transaction, I have less cash (or more debt) but i have a new roof. A building in a blighted area with a new roof is certainly worth more than one without the improvement.

So when I put a new roof on and the value increases and so does the valuation for tax purposes when the appraiser discovers the improvement. In addition, the value increased for insurance purposes as well. But under this program my AFTER tax net worth increased by the amount of the tax subsidy.

But you missed or avoided my main point. Subsidizing owner occupied houses in blighted neighborhoods with a tax break was the purpose of this program. Why should we subsidized landlords downtown again? Is downtown Lawrence a blighted neighborhood? Why should the taxpayers divert money intended for home owners and give it to real estate investors downtown?

whydoyouask2dogs 8 years, 1 month ago

This is a great idea. If other communities are doing it, why can't we to be competitive?

The ugly Masonic Temple will always be ugly because it's historical. It looks like a mausoleum and this dowtown tax abatement could make it a reality. Cemeteries don't require special zoning do they? It would be a great place to visit the dearly departed then get a beer or listen to some nearby hip-hop.

Bill Chapman 8 years, 1 month ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says: Make it REAL or else forget about it! How about some REAL "rebates" (1) 100% tax CREDIT for solar heating and hot water supplies. (2) 100% tax CREDIT for improved insulation in homes and businesses. (3) 100% tax CREDIT for improvements made to ANY structure; residential or commercial, which has an "Historic" desgination. (4) 100% tax CREDIT for updating any HVAC system over ten years old to modern, energy efficent units.

I totally agree with Marion on this suggestion. These improvements WILL raise the value of ANY building and while not exactly visible improvements (not all anyway), they are the more intelligent improvements. Any improvement that will increase the energy efficiency of ANY structure is just plain SMART! Some of the new types of solar cells can get energy from multiple spectrums of light. This increases the amount of electricity generated - in some cases they also reduce the amount of infrared radiation that hits your roof(which reduces the amount needed to cool the house).

monkeyhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Sigmund -

"Why should we subsidized landlords downtown again? Is downtown Lawrence a blighted neighborhood?"

Quite valid questions. but another question is -

Are all downtown buildings considered "historic", thereby giving the owners a 15 year tax break instead of the 10 year, as well as the lower $5000 improvement figure? What business savvy individual would pass up this cash cow?

whydoyouask2dogs 8 years, 1 month ago

The Masonic Temple is UGLY, UGLY, UGLY!!!!!!!! It looks like a mausoleum and the new owner with have to keep it that way since the building is historic. Would you put a business in it and if so where would you hang the sign?

peppermint 8 years, 1 month ago

whydoyouask2dogs:

That's odd, when my beer-making friend came to town to visit all he could think of was turning the Masonic Temple into a brew pub. I think the Masonic Temple is funky and gorgeous - until the current owner slapped the particle board on and neglected it. You'd simply have to call your brew pub The Masonic Temple.

RJ_Mettlehorst 8 years, 1 month ago

max1,

Delaware Street Commons never did get a NRA tax rebate. Notice that the document you cite is a staff report running the numbers, not an approval from the City Commission like the document you show for the 8th and Penn project.

Delaware Street Commons asked the city to consider the project for NRA status after Bo Harris asked for it on his project. They figured if Bo and his deep pocket friends could get a tax break, why not a group of citizens building their own homes? Bo got his tax break, Delaware Street Commons did not. These homeowners will pay taxes just like everyone else.

erod0723 8 years, 1 month ago

Umm, why is the city considering giving away money when it desperately needs it? Just another reason why Corliss et al are leading this city in the wrong direction.

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