The building of new houses in Winnebago has become part of the city’s strategy for economic development.
During an Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting held March 1, board members and EDA specialist Jennifer Howard discussed a tax abatement program to spur new housing construction.
“I think the long-term benefit of incentivizing some of this, it’s rolling and exponential,” says Howard. “Think about a family of four and what they bring to town.”
Under the program, which would need City Council approval, new construction would be for single- and multi-family homes within the city.
Property owners would receive 100 percent tax abatement for the city’s portion of real estate taxes for five years.
“They would pay every year and then would file an application to get reimbursed,” says Howard. “After five years, they would pay the city taxes.”
Fairmont and Martin County have new housing construction incentives, she says, and two cities in Faribault County are considering it.
With nearly 70 vacant lots in the city, EDA board members discussed benefits of implementing the program.
“It would be advantageous to implement this, so we aren’t left behind,” says City Administrator Judi Hynes. “What we’re talking about, pretty much, is money that we’re not getting anyway. In five years, we would start getting it.”
Howard suggested board members also offer other incentives such as waiving a $500 water hook-up fee and giving a family or single pool pass for a year.
Property owners would need to be pre-approved before applying for the program. If the property is sold before the five-year abatement ends, the new owner would benefit the remaining years left.
At Howard’s request, the board unanimously approved motions to recommend a resolution for the program to the City Council, and to waive water hook-up fees and offer pool passes.