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November 9, 2013

Proposals offered on city tax abatements

NEW CASTLE — New Castle City Council is considering shortening the time for property owners to take advantage of tax abatements.

Council introduced amendments to three ordinances last month to not only shorten the time, but also to add new restrictions to qualify for exemptions.

Council president MaryAnne Gavrile is proposing the change. Gavrile said she is recommending a shorter period “so that maybe it will give people an incentive to renovate properties.”

The tax abatements apply to residential, commercial and industrial properties.

Currently, 100 percent of the assessed value of property improvements, whether they are new construction or additions, are exempt from taxes for five years. The exemption is terminated in the sixth year.

Under the proposed amendments, 100 percent of the assessed value of improvements would be exempt in the first year. The exemption would fall to 50 percent in the second year and 25 percent in the third year. After the third year, the exemption would terminate.

In addition, exemptions would apply only if improvements or new construction are completed within one year of the application date. Applicants may apply for an additional six months if they seek an extension within a certain period of time.

Exemptions would be forfeited if previous non–exempt taxes on the property being improved have not been paid.

The existing ordinances do not have those two restrictions.

Matthew Staniszewski, community and economic development director, is reviewing the proposed changes.

Staniszewski said he also is in the process of writing a new tax abatement program that would cover new businesses.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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