In 2001, the City of Rose Hill adopted a Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) to give residents tax relief for improvements on older homes.

In 2001, the City of Rose Hill adopted a Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) to give residents tax relief for improvements on older homes.

In October 2011, the NRP was amended to include incentives for new home construction.

During Tuesday’s Butler County Commission meeting, Rose Hill city administrator Kathy Raney asked the commissioners to renew the NRP.

“Since October 2011 there have been 20 homes [built],” said Raney. “We have two new subdivisions. We feel that we need another year to get some healthy occupancy in those subdivisions.”

According to Raney, the city and developers have already heavily invested in the subdivisions.

The original NRP covers a designated area inside the city limits and offers a 10 year abatement for 95 percent of taxes owed. The amended NRP offers a five year abatement for 95 percent of taxes owed on up to $200,000 of a new home’s value. New homes constructed within the city limits are eligible for the program.

During the discussion, Commissioner Peggy Palmer expressed concern that the NRP would discourage sales of existing homes already on the market.

“The program we felt did not hurt the existing home sales,” said Raney. “Over the last six months sales have been pretty active and not really hurt by the tax incentives.”

She also mentioned another potential incentive for existing home sales.

“Our city council is going to be considering a closing cost program for a limited amount of time, probably a cap of so many homes, just to help with the existing home sales,” said Raney. “We are trying to do some things to help with existing home sales as well.”

Raney said the reason the original NRP was amended to include new home construction was because other cities in Butler County were doing so. At present, El Dorado, Augusta, Andover, Benton and Douglass also have new construction NRPs.

The goal of amending the NRP to include new home construction was to draw more residents to Rose Hill.

“We wouldn’t be getting those folks into Rose Hill and Butler County without the incentives, we feel,” said Raney. “Once you’ve got those folks in the tax base, you’ve got them.”

Palmer also expressed her concern that taxes in Butler County are too high and that’s why people aren’t moving into the county.

“You’re proving this because it’s hard to compete with Sedgwick County,” she told Raney. “This might be a band aid.”

If new home construction in areas with NRPs hits the county’s projections, the county could end up rebating around $95,000 to homeowners each year the NRPs are in place.

The stipulations of the older Rose Hill NRP will continue to remain in place as well, so in designated areas of the city, remodeling or anything that adds to the value of the property could qualify for tax rebates.

The new NRP does not include Richland Township or Pleasant Township because new home growth is not projected in the townships.

The new home construction tax incentive will sunset at the end of 2013 and the portion of the plan encompassing existing homes will remain in place for another three years.

The motion to renew the NRP passed 4-1 with Palmer opposed.

In other business, the commissioners:

• received Daryl Wacker, Murdock Township Clerk, who asked the commissioners to recognize Alvin Claassen for his 39 years of service to Murdock Township. Claassen, who plans to retire from the township board, has also served on the Fire District #7 board for many years. The commissioners thanked Claassen, who was also at the meeting, and approved a motion by Commissioner Ed Myers to present Claassen with a certificate of appreciation.

• approved a previously tabled purchase of nine 2013 Dodge Chargers, one Dodge Ram pickup truck and three used 2011 Ford Crown Victorias for the Sheriff’s Department for a total cost of $268,280.57 with an approximate setup cost of $10,298.

• approved the purchase of a replacement tire machine for the North Highway Shop in an amount not to exceed $6,620.

• approved the Local Emergency Planning Commission roster and reappointed Commissioner Dan Woydziak as the board’s representative.

• approved an amendment to the existing county appraiser’s contract. Appraiser Marion Johnson will be working less, so his salary was reduced.

• held a work session to discuss various organizations in which Butler County maintains membership. The organizations discussed were the Kansas Association of Counties (KAC), Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP), South Central Kansas Economic Development District (SCKEDD) and National Association of Counties (NACo). The commissioners approved payment of membership dues to KAC and NACo but decided to hold payment of REAP and SCKEDD dues until the value of membership in these organizations can be determined. Membership dues to these organizations cost the county $29,775.50 in 2012 and will cost $31,248.94 this year if all of the memberships are maintained.

• appointed Andy Jones of rural El Dorado to the Butler County Planning and Zoning Commission.