Mitchell County Economic Development Chair Tony Stonecypher details some of his ideas for a potential second round of construction incentives. EJ PHOTO/TRAVIS CHARLSON

Mitchell County Economic Development asks for input on next housing incentive program.

Since announcing their intent to implement a second construction initiative program, the Mitchell County Economic Development Commission (MCEDC) had a chance to hear feedback from the public Tuesday by holding a public information session.

Even though the program launched before his tenure, MCEDC Director Tony Stonecypher said he believes the program has done the county a service.

“We’ve increased the county’s tax base, and that’s what we are after,” said Stonecypher. “We’re capturing tax dollars, turning it around and putting it back into the community.”

Essentially, the county is taking TIF dollars generated from things like the windmill construction in the county, and using those dollars to incentivize the construction of new properties.

In the first project, the types of projects included new commercial or industrial buildings, reconstruction/substantial rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of unoccupied properties, and new multi-family rental (including duplexes and townhomes) units and single-family residences build for “spec” and offered for sale.

The “incentives” for a commercial property was no more than $50,000; for residential one-bedroom, $20,000 per unit; for residential two-bedroom, $25,000 per unit; and for three bedroom, $30,000 per unit. The maximun for a multi-family project was $240,000.

The incentives then would be payed to the property owner.

The purpose of the meeting was to see how the public viewed it and if any changes should be made to a second program, if it were to go through.

Rentals appear to be one of the most immediate needs. Some of the builders who participated in the first program said they had tenants lined up for their rentals before construction was even complete.

There was some discussion about expanding the program to include upgrades in addition to building new.

“With new properties, we’re adding to the tax base,” Stonecyper said, noting how new buildings means new taxable property for the local government.

“We’re also protecting our current tax base,” Stonecypher said about renovations. “[Updates] will go along way in increasing the value and longevity of the home.”

There was also discussion about what properties would be eligible for the program — the project is funded with TIF dollars, and the way the law is written, only properties in Urban Renewal zones would then be able to receive that TIF money.

Stonecyper said that they are working on compiling and organizing a list of all the properties currently in Urban Renewal zones, and making that list easier to access for the public.

For a second program to start, the MCEDC will have to propose a finalized draft to the Mitchell County Board of Supervisors, who would then choose to either turn down the program or allocate the funds necessary to carry it forward.

According to Supervisor Stan Walk, the Board could expect to see a final draft somewhere around the first of April. 

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