Exemption could save big bucks

Published 12:04am Saturday, January 19, 2013

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is looking for participants for a program that could save potential business owners some tax dollars while spurring development in the downtown historic district.

Community Development Director James Johnston said the city’s tax abatement ordinance allows the city to give developers exemptions from municipal property taxes, except ad valorem taxes set aside for the school district, for three to seven years.

County taxes are not affected by the tax abatement program, Johnston said.

The period of exemption is based on the amount of money a developer spends on renovations to a building or new construction in the city’s downtown historic district.

For example, Johnston said, if someone spent $20,000 to renovate a building downtown to open a business, the city could declare that business exempt from municipal taxes for three years.

The tax freeze only applies to revenue producing commercial properties that will be available for new construction or renovation.

The investments eligible for tax abatement are:

4$20,000 to $29,999 for a three-year period.

4$30,000 to $44,999 for a four-year period.

4$45,000 to $64,999 for a five-year period.

4$65,000 to $89,999 for a six-year period.

4$90,000 and above for a seven-year period.

Twenty-five percent of the minimum investment must be spent on the public facades of the building. Property acquisition costs are not eligible for the program.

The tax abatement program area includes Under-the-Hill, parts of Canal, Broadway, Main, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin, State, Pearl and Union streets.

Johnston first worked with the city on the program in 1999 and said the idea is to stimulate downtown development by giving businesses a chance to save money.

“The goal is to give people a break on their taxes, so it will spur development in the downtown historic district,” he said.

Mayor Butch Brown said he inquired about the tax abatement program when he bought his apartment on South Commerce Street more than a year ago.

“No one in City Hall knew anything about it,” he said.

Brown said Historic Natchez Foundation Executive Director Mimi Miller informed him that the program was still in place and provided paperwork on it.

“When James came on board, he started digging and resurrected it,” Brown said. “It’s a good program, it’s been there and unutilized. We just want to inform people about it, and we’re hoping people take advantage of it.”

An application for the tax abatement program can be picked up in the planning and community development department upstairs in City Hall. The department can be reached at 601-445-7518.

  • khakirat

    Again, 1999 this wasn’t fair to the other business owners thru out Natchez city limits trying to hang on and to stay in business after many plants shut down and people leaving Adams county like flies!!!! Why is it that all these histerical people get the breaks on stuff as this and they still don’t pay there property tax(at a lower rate) as the majority of its people is plainly wrong!! B.Brown from what I hear paid for the property he mention and don’t live there but outside in the county an is Mayor of Natchez that isn’t right by law!! Again, thats the Natchez Way huh’??!! Taxpayer citizens have got to voice against crap as this for this is one of the reason Brown wasn’t elected under unfair and unfriendly toward businesses!! City taxpayers will have to pay the slack in the tax so the histerical people can get the abatement(very bad deal)!!! WAKE UP NATCHEZ TAXPAYERS!!!

  • Anonymous

    I think they pay $1.00 a year tax for the antebellum homes.if not it,s a loophole where they get it all back whatever they pay,you can bet on that.