Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner City Council adopted a resolution to create a neighborhood revitalization program in four zones within Gardner during a meeting Jan. 7
The zones, three business and one residential, will benefit from a tax rebate once the program is completed.
According to Larry Powell, Gardner director of business and economic development, the proposed revitalization program follows the success of a similar program that ran between 1997 and 2007. (There was a final payout in December of 2017.)
He said Gardner was the first city in the county to establish a neighborhood revitalization project and the first to complete it.
He said that in that project one of the businesses recouped the entire cost of constructing a new building.
“This program promotes the revitalization and development of the city of Gardner by stimulating new construction and the rehabilitation and development of the city in order to enhance the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the city,” he said.
Under the program, the city will forego the increased property tax revenue created by the construction of new and expanded businesses in the three business zones and the increased property tax revenues created by the construction of new homes in the residential zone.
He said that the neighborhood revitalization program will have to be approved by the state attorney general, and the county will issue all the tax refunds.
Powell said that participating businesses are not excused from paying taxes that are due to the school district or the fire district.
Participating tax entities will still receive their existing mill levy’s. The tax difference in the existing mill levy and the new mill levy can be rebated except for the 8 mills of capital outlay mill levy required to be collected by state law. We are not asking the fire department to participate as they need the new value in order to properly supply fire protection to the improved properties.
Steve Shute, mayor, clarified that a business cannot benefit from two tax exemption programs at the same time.
In the meeting the council also:
-approved a $109,810 contract with DEHN Inc. for lightning and surge protection for Hillsdale water treatment plant.
-authorized the adoption of a new sub-lease policy for hangers at the Gardner Municipal Airport.