Archive for Thursday, December 9, 2004

Changes coming to revitalization program

December 9, 2004

A meeting among key Basehor economic development officials last week produced an agreement to review and overhaul the city's neighborhood revitalization program, a tool that has seen scarce use since it was implemented three years ago.

On Thursday, Nov. 2, Basehor city officials and members of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce met to discuss economic development issues, primarily the revitalization program, which all in attendance Thursday agreed needed overhauling.

City officials said they would review the program, in coordination with the Chamber of Commerce, and recommend changes.

"I'm up for anything that will make it work better," Basehor city administrator David Fuqua said. "The more ideas the better. This shouldn't be a hard problem to fix."

The Basehor City Council approved the revitalization program in 2001.

The revitalization tool grants tax abatements to property owners inside the designated revitalization area -- nearly all areas inside the city's corporate limits -- for new construction or when improvements are made that total more than 50 percent of a property's assessed valuation.

According to city records, since it was approved only four businesses have taken advantage of the revitalization program.

Chamber of Commerce president Debbie Breuer said some businesses have been denied the revitalization incentives while others have been approved. Chamber of Commerce and city leaders need to adjust the program so it's uniform for applicants, she said.

"We just have to get on the same page," Breuer said.

Changes to the revitalization program would have to be approved by members of the City Council. John Bonee, who along with City Council president Julian Espinoza, attended the Thursday meeting, said he's in favor of improving the program.

"I'm all about getting this taken care of now," Bonee said. "We need to get this done.

"We need to create a whole different environment (for businesses)."

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