Archive for Thursday, June 29, 2000

Revitalization plan unveiled by city

June 29, 2000

DeSoto officials gained silent approval from residents recently regarding a tax-rebate plan they hope will revitalize the town's historic district.

The city has proposed a program that would rebate personal property tax paid on improvements to homes or businesses in the older part of DeSoto, including the downtown area.

No one came forward to speak on the matter at a public hearing hosted by the city, county and school district during the June 15 city council meeting. City administrator Gerald Cooper said the city will continue to pursue the proposal with one significant change.

According to the amended proposal, owners of vacant lots in the historical district will not be eligible for the rebate.

Because DeSoto residents also pay property tax to Johnson County, the county library district, the county parks and recreation department and the school district, the city needed their cooperation to make the program worthwhile to residents. Unless the taxing entities also agreed to rebate the additional property tax, the savings to residents wouldn't be significant, Cooper said.

DeSoto School Board President Sandra Thierer represented the school board at the hearing and recommended at the school board meeting Monday night that the district support the proposal. Board members unanimously voted to do so.

County Commissioner Johnna Lingle attended the hearing on behalf of the county. She and her fellow commissioners are expected to vote on the proposal within the next few weeks.

If county officials agree, the city will offer residents a rebate on property taxes for improvements to their homes or businesses, increasing their value by $5,000 or more.

The tax rebate would be awarded to business owners for 10 years and for homeowners for five years. Property owners would be eligible for the program for the next ten years.

Cooper said he hopes to have the program in place by the first of September.

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