Council OKs revitalization program for targeted area

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The yellow areas indicate areas included in the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan passed last week by the Hillsboro City Council. Tax incentves on building improvements will last through 2018.

Residential and commercial property owners in a designated area of Hillsboro now have an economic incentive for making building improvements, thanks to the Neighbor?hood Revitaliza?tion Plan approved by the Hills?boro City Council at its April 15 meeting.

Following a public hearing with negligible public input, the council approved an ordinance to initiate the NRP as proposed by City Administrator Larry Paine.

The purpose of a revitalization plan is to encourage property owners to improve their properties. Since improvements usually result in a property-tax increase, an NRP allows for a tax abatement of the improvements over a 10-year period, in this case 2008 to 2018.

In order to qualify, a property owner must submit an application to the city?available at City Hall or on the city Web site?and demonstrate expenditures of $5,000 for residential and $15,000 for commercial properties.

When the applications are approved, they will be sent to the Marion County assessor. A building permit will be required as evidence of the value of the proposed work.

For example, when a residential property owner has property valued at $100,000 and makes a $5,000 improvement, the new value of the property is $105,000. Individuals will pay the taxes on the new value of $105,000. After payment, Marion County will rebate the Hillsboro portion of the property tax to the property owner.

This is the second NRP proposal adopted by the city. The first was approved in 1999 and will expire next May. The designated area included the downtown business district as well as a residential area to the north and east of downtown.

Mayor Delores Dalke told the council that to this point some $97,000 in property taxes had been refunded to property owners through the first nine years. She said she did not ask how many property owners had participated in the program.

The initiative for the latest NRP came from the new owners of the former McDonald?s building on East D. They said the tax incentive would be necessary to to make it financially viable to bring a new fast-food franchise to Hillsboro.

The council initially envisioned the commercial areas along D Street as the target district for NRP. Upon further discussion, the council added a largely residential area north of D Street that lies between Ash and Cedar streets and extends north to just south of Orchard Drive in Hillsboro Heights.

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