The Neighborhood Revitalization Plan in Augusta will probably survive at least one more year although this year’s version will include important modifications.
The Augusta City Council discussed the program in a work session this week and left with a consensus directing staff to redraw the program’s boundaries and scope.
Currently, the city’s tax refund program applies to any new build or remodeling project within the city limits.
There was a great deal of discussion on whether to consider the 90 percent property tax refund to some areas of the city that aren’t blighted, historic or dilapidated.
Mayor Kristey Williams pointed out the program was never intended to be used as an incentive to build anywhere anytime.
“I know why we did it this way, but we are no longer in a recession and I don’t think developers in newer neighborhoods need these incentives to build there,” Williams said.
Councilor Matt Malone questioned Williams about the improvements in the economy. Malone, who had been against the program in the past, said he was in favor of it now after looking at the numbers the council was presented.
In two more years, $18,853 will be added to city coffers thanks to projects done under the current NRP. In four years, that amount is $35,348.
Malone said the number of participants and added valuation to the city’s property tax base were enough justification to him to continue the program.
The initial discussion was to go back to previous limits and only honor the NRP south of Kelly Avenue.
However, Councilor Sue Jones noted many properties between Kelly and Belmont are approaching 50 years old and might benefit from a program like this.
The proposal for the program included all areas south of Belmont that were remodeling projects or new construction.
Big projects to benefit from the program in the recent past include PT Plus, The Point Events Center, and McDonalds. Walmart never applied to take part in the tax refund program.
City staff will rewrite the program with these guidelines and bring it back to the council for a final approval.
Kent Bush can be reached at email@example.com.