For the past five years, the city of Fort Scott has offered tax rebates to residents and businesses of Bourbon County who participate in the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which offers property tax rebate incentives to those who improve the state of their homes or properties.
During the Fort Scott City Commission’s meeting Tuesday evening, the commissioners unanimously voted to renew the program another five years after hearing a report from Heather Smith, the city’s director of economic development.
“This has really been a critical tool for us in economic development,” Smith said, saying the program from 2011 to 2014 had 16 commercial and 14 residential properties participate with 10 others applying to participate in 2015.
During that time, the commercial properties increased their valuation by about $2.6 million while the residential participants increased their value by $920,000. That total of $3.5 million in increased value outweighed the approximate $1.3 million in property tax rebates for the participants over the five-year term for residential properties and 10 years for commercial.
To receive the tax rebate, participants must increase the value of their property value by at least 15 percent. The rebate is then 100 percent of the taxes resulting from that appraised value increase, so it does not reduce the current revenue from taxes.
Brochures of NRP information Smith brought to the meeting states that “qualified improvements include any construction, rehabilitation, or additions that increase the appraised value of the property.”
“We’ve got some great opportunities I think to utilize this program and sell this program to people that have an interest,” Smith said.
Since its beginning, changes have been made to streamline the program, including putting it into the hands of the county starting in January, as the county has the needed software and capability of running it more easily than Smith and the city could.
“We want to see valuations go up,” Smith said of the goal of the program.