JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown City Council got its first look Monday night at a proposed program that would address abandoned and vacant homes and properties in the city.
City Development Director Vince DeJoy said that through the proposed Local Property Tax Abatement Incentive, investors who rehab vacant and condemned properties for owner-occupied residential use would qualify for a property tax abatement.
“We’re trying to promote home ownership and hopefully discourage additional rental properties,” DeJoy explained to the city’s Housing Committee during its Monday night meeting. “As we know, over 50 percent of the housing units in Jamestown are rental properties. We’d like to create this incentive to redevelop properties and encourage more home ownership.”
Under the proposed program, the abatement period would last eleven years with an abatement schedule that begins with the property owner paying no property taxes in years one through three, 20 percent property tax in years four and five, and then seeing that amount increase by 20 percent for every following two years, until the full property tax value is paid by year 12.
The program would require state approval. DeJoy said the city will also request the school district and county to also initiate the program so that both school property tax and county property taxes would also be included in the abatement.
Officials said that since the properties that would qualify typically yield little to no tax revenue to begin with, the abatement wouldn’t have a negative impact on tax revenue. They said it would also help save the city money by avoiding demolition costs and would also help to stabilize neighborhoods by helping to reduce the number of condemned or blighted homes.
The city council will act on a home rule legislation request from the state later this month, with the state expected to act on the request later this year.