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City offers tax incentives

February 07, 2002

City offers tax incentives



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday endorsed new tax incentives for homeowners and businesses to improve or change their properties in and around downtown.

One program would give property owners tax credits for five years based on the value of improvements made to their properties.

Another program would encourage property owners to convert multi-family houses to single-family residences.

The tax credits would offset any increase to a property owner's tax bill when the improvements increased the assessed value of the property.

The tax breaks would be available only for certain downtown properties. The properties would have to be within the Community Legacy Focus Area, which is bounded by Potomac Street, Franklin Street, Cannon Avenue and Mulberry Street, and the railroad tracks south of Prospect Avenue, said City Senior Planner Kathy Maher.

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For commercial properties, the council supported tax incentive programs for artists and developers who create space for artists or arts businesses in Hagerstown's downtown Arts and Entertainment District.

The tax breaks will be available because the Hagerstown district, which includes the four blocks around Public Square, received a state designation as a Smart Growth-Arts and Entertainment District.

Artists living and working in the district will be eligible for income tax breaks.

Developers who create spaces for artists or arts businesses would be exempt from paying certain property taxes on the value of improvements made to their properties.

The council also supported making arts businesses within the district exempt from the city's admissions and amusement tax.

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