Some property owners in Kansas City, Kan., and Edwardsville can expect more opportunities for tax rebates when they invest in improvements to their homes and businesses over the next 10 years.
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County approved an expansion of Edwardsville’s neighborhood revitalization plan Thursday night and agreed on some changes to the existing plan in Kansas City, Kan.
The tax rebate programs are intended to raise property values and encourage reinvestment in communities by offering property owners incentives to make improvements. Bonner Springs has a similar program in place with the Unified Government.
Mayor Joe Reardon said he is hopeful that with programs like these, Wyandotte County can take advantage of its strengths and recover from the economic downturn that has affected communities nationwide. He said the county’s housing market in recent years has been the toughest most people there have ever seen, but local communities are in a better position to recover than some others.
“We’re stronger in nearly every corner of our community to come out of a bad economy,” Reardon said. “But we also need to look for other opportunities. We need to be smart.”
The Edwardsville plan is retroactive to Jan. 10 and expires on Dec. 31, 2021. It provides for a tax abatement of up to 95 percent on investments of $5,000 or more on improvements to single-family homes. The plan also offers rebates on new residential properties and commercial properties.
Doug Bach, deputy county administrator, said the neighborhood revitalization plan in Kansas City, Kan., will be changed to add more opportunities for tax rebates for both residential properties and small businesses.
The plan will allow rebates for residential improvements in combination with low-income housing tax credits and tax increment financing. Some rebates on commercial improvements will increase from 50 percent to 95 percent over a 10-year period. Rebates will be extended to commercial projects of up to $3 million, raising the project size cap from $2 million.
The Unified Board of Commissioners will discuss changes to the plan that would create a new special project zone for commercial projects exceeding $3 million.
Bach said the changes will be retroactive to Jan. 1. The expansion of the Edwardsville plan and the changes to the Kansas City, Kan., plan were passed unanimously.
The board of commissioners also heard from county residents who asked that such tax incentive plans be expanded elsewhere in the area, such as the Piper School District and the northeastern section of the county.
Rusty Roberts, a Reece & Nichols real estate agent who sells homes in the county, told commissioners that the housing market needs help from a more aggressive tax incentive plan.
“We need more new homes on the market,” Roberts said. “Whatever we’re doing is just not working.”