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June 20, 2013

Public hearing set for tax abatement program for mixed use properties

At the recommendation of the Economic Sustainability Committee, the village of Cooperstown Board of Trustees will be holding a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday to consider a tax abatement program for mixed use properties.   

This program is designed to encourage the conversion of non-residential real property to mixed use property. The most common use is the creation of apartments on the upper floors of downtown commercial buildings.   

As such changes typically result in an increased tax assessment, this program allows for the gradual phase of increased assessed value. According to a media release, for eight years, there is no increase in taxable value based on the conversion. During years nine to 12, the value is increased on a percentage basis until in year 13 the full value is in effect.   

The release states: “The Economic Sustainability Committee supports this measure because of the need for increased housing options, including apartments, within the village; the benefits of downtown development for the village as a whole; and the potential for upper floors conversion in our historic building stock.” 

The Village already has a similar tax abatement program in place for improvements to business properties.

Such abatement programs, while providing powerful incentives for the development of underutilized space, in no way decrease the property taxes currently being collected. The abatement program only affects the increased value resulting from the conversion, and by encouraging further development sets the stage for increased property tax revenue in the future. 

The Economic Sustainability Committee will be encouraging the Cooperstown Central School Board of Education to look at similar measures as it considers school property tax policy in light of the declining school population.

According to the release, the mixed-use tax abatement program is consistent with the goals of the village of Cooperstown’s Economic Sustainability Committee to encourage the economic well being of the village and enhance its character and livability over the long term.

For more information, contact trustee Cindy Falk at 643-8284.

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