- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) - The city of Greenwood may offer sweeter tax breaks to developers who make improvements to their downtown buildings.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports (https://bit.ly/1gPzPY2 ) the city council looked this week at a revised tax abatement plan offered by Brantley Snipes, executive director of Main Street Greenwood Inc.

A vote could come when the council meets Feb. 18.

A four-year tax-abatement proposal was first advanced in November by Main Street Greenwood, a nonprofit organization that promotes downtown.

“This is round two,” Snipes said, “What we’re trying to do is … help incentivize development in the historic downtown district of Greenwood.”

The proposed tax break would cover all local property taxes except school taxes.

Since it was proposed, the plan has been reviewed by Leflore County Chancery Clerk Sam Abraham and Leflore County Tax Assessor Leroy Ware.

Initially, the proposal offered an 100 percent abatement on improvements for the first year and 25 percent for each year thereafter. The revision now provides for 100 percent abatement for the first three years and 50 percent for the fourth year.

Snipes said developers could qualify for one more year of tax abatement if their building is fully occupied with viable businesses by the end of the fourth year.

To be eligible for the tax breaks, a developer’s renovations would have to account for at least 45 percent of the building’s new appraised value, as determined by the Leflore County tax assessor.

Snipes said the proposal would give developers a third layer of tax abatement after similar federal and state tax abatement programs are included.

The proposal also includes downtown residential properties.

For residential properties, a building’s second or subsequent story must be converted to residential use.

Again, an additional year of tax abatement would be granted if the building is fully leased at the end of the fourth year, Snipes said.

Similar programs are already in place in Vicksburg, Cleveland, Natchez, Oxford and Ocean Springs, Snipes said.


Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, https://www.gwcommonwealth.com

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