Tax-incentive district includes more businesses

Council redraws lines to exclude residential areas
Jan. 31, 2014 @ 02:47 PM

A recent district change in downtown Thomasville will make more businesses eligible for a tax incentive.

City Council on Jan. 22 approved a new downtown district for its tax incentive program that includes less residential area and more commercial property on Fisher Ferry Street. Council in 2012 initiated the tax incentive program as a way to spur business development in the downtown area.

City Manager Kelly Craver presented the new district map to council at its monthly meeting.

“After consideration at a later time, it was noted that were quite a bit of residential structures within the district approved by council,” Craver said. “I'm redrawing the lines to remove those residential districts and also to expand the area down Fisher Ferry to Colonial Drive to include Fisher Ferry Street, which is right for redevelopment at this point in time.”

Downtown business owners who invest in their property can receive a tax incentive from the city and county. The incentive is based on the increase in the property tax valuation as a result of the investment. Adding the section of Fisher Ferry Street to the district makes several businesses eligible for the incentive.

Councilmen Raleigh York and Scott Styers initiated the tax incentive program, using similar ideas from other municipalities to develop a framework that could work in downtown Thomasville. Styers did not attend the Jan. 22 council meeting and remains hospitalized at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center with pneumonia.

York took the opportunity to recognize the efforts of his fellow council member.

“I think Councilman Styers deserves a lot of credit for doing a bulk of the legwork on this,” York said. “He had several meetings, emails back and forth with our city attorney in developing this. He did research with other towns. He was instrumental in bringing this together. I was just along for the ride more or less.”

City Attorney Paul Mitchell said Styers' persistence paved the way toward making the program a reality.

“I just couldn't make progress and I was quite frustrated because I understand the concept and its been a great boom for the city,” said Mitchell. “It occurred to him to call some cities which actually had very creative programs. When he gave me the key I put it in the door. He deserves a lot of credit as I think it has been a real positive thing for the city.”

 

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