City may may amend tax incentive district

Council hopes more businesses will use the incentive
Jan. 17, 2014 @ 02:47 PM

Thomasville City Council is tweaking the district for its downtown tax incentive initiative.

Council members at the Jan.22 meeting will vote on a district boundary modification that includes more businesses and less houses. The city currently offers a tax incentive for businesses that invest in the downtown area.

City Council and Davidson County Commissioners two years ago passed similar incentives in hopes of spurring economic investment in existing buildings.

“We currently have a district that is in place and has been since June 2012,” said City Manager Kelly Craver. “After further review, Council has decided they would like to modify the boundaries of the district.”

Modifications will not increase the district's size but include commercial properties on the first block of Fisher Ferry Street off Main Street. Residential properties near Doak Park are no longer part of the district.

“Upon [Council's] request, I redrew the district which takes out the residential properties and includes some commercial properties,” Craver. “I'm really not taking out that many houses and I'm not adding that many commercial properties, but I would say, without calculating it, that it would be approximately the same size.”

As part of the program, downtown business owners who increase the value of their property through an economic investment are eligible for a tax incentive from the city and county. The incentives are based on the increased property tax valuation from the investment.

“If you raise the property value $50,000, [the incentive] is based on the additional taxes paid,” Craver said. “It is a tool in which to hopefully foster small business development.”

Councilman Neal Grimes said he expected more business owners would have taken advantage of the incentive program since its inception.

“The intention of this is to offer a tax incentive for industrial, commercial and retail property owners to fix up their buildings,” said Grimes. “I don't think we've had a rush to jump on it. Some people have taken advantage of it. Unfortunately, we haven't had a whole lot of redevelopment during that time. We just hope this is another incentive that will cause it.”

Tuesday's meeting may only feature four of the seven city council members. Scott Styers is in the hospital with pneumonia, Ronald Bratton is recovering from heart surgery and Raleigh York is suffering from a sinus infection.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.