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Commissioners OK excise tax

July 13, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Property owners building workforce housing in Washington County will temporarily pay a reduced excise tax, but other residential developers will typically face a tax of $13,000 to $15,500 per unit, depending on the type of dwelling they build.

The County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a Building Excise Tax Ordinance on new construction, effective immediately.

While all the commissioners approved the ordinance, one commissioner said the tax will probably pose problems for some residents.

"This is going to hurt affordable housing no matter what way you look at it," Munson said.

The excise tax is intended to generate money to pay for the effects of growth on schools, roads, public safety and other services.

Under the ordinance, property owners will pay a $13,000 tax on the construction of each single-family home. The tax is $15,500 for each multifamily home.

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Developers building workforce semi-detached and single-family homes and townhouses of 1,500 square feet or smaller will be charged an excise tax of $1 per square foot.

The workforce housing credit is temporary, pending the recommendations this fall of the county's Affordable Housing Task Force. The task force was set up to look at affordable housing in the county.

Apartments are not eligible for the workforce housing tax credit, but developers of such buildings may request a tax reduction.

Workforce housing is "for households with an income that is greater than 50 percent but does not exceed 120 percent of the average family median income for households in Washington County as established by the Planning Director," according to the ordinance.

Nonresidential developers will pay an excise tax on a per-square-foot basis. The tax ranges from 20 cents per square foot to $4 per square foot, depending on the type and size of the building.

The non-residential designation consists of retail, industrial, warehouse/distribution, office and hotel/motel construction.

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