The Corbin Planning and Zoning Commission is asking the city commission to offer tax breaks to property owners who spend significant money to update and upgrade older properties.
At the regular workshop meeting of the Corbin City Commission Monday night, Henry Heaberlin with the planning and zoning commission asked the commissioners to consider an ordinance that would grant a city tax moratorium on properties that are 25 years or older if the owner spent 25 percent or more of the assessed value on rehabilition, upkeep or preservation.
“Code enforcement and the city have watch a lot of problems develop with trying to get people to clean up their places,” Heaberlin told the commissioners. “What we are thinking is this would induce the possibility of a developer or property owner coming in an fixing it up.”
Under the proposed ordinance the assessment would be frozen for 15 years during which the city would collect property taxes based on the old assessment.
“If you could prime the pump, at the end you would have increased tax value,” Heberland noted.
Heaberlin added that he had spoken with several Whitley County officials that had expressed an interest in enacting a similar ordinance at the county level.
“If the two of them could work it out it would make for pretty good enticement for someone to come in an clean up a piece of property,” Heaberlin said.
In addition, Heaberlin noted that many of the properties are covered under Corbin’s “homestead exemption,” to the property tax.
“If someone buys it gets the tax credit, the one thing it does is get rid of the homestead exemption because that wipes all of that and you start out with a new property owner which is going to jack the evaluation up,” Heaberlin said.
“It won’t cost you a whole lot and it might save you some grief,” Heaberlin added.
While the Louisville ordinance gives property owners up to two years to complete the work, the commissioners agreed that one-year would be sufficient in the Corbin version.
Property owners would have the option to come before the planning and zoning commission to request an extension.
“I think it makes Corbin attractive for people that want to buy property and do something with it,” said Commissioner Trent Knuckles noting it may also entice home owners to add amenities or upgrades they may not have done otherwise.
“It entices people to go a little bit further,” Knuckles said.
Knuckles added that this ordinance would serve as a counterbalance to an ordinance that allows the city to charge the constitutional maximum to owners of abandoned or blighted property by rewarding property owners that take additional steps to clean up and improve their property.
“That is the stick part. This is the carrot part,” Knuckles said.
Commissioner Andrew Pennington said this may also serve as an incentive to someone looking to purchase a fixer-upper property to look more closely at Corbin.
In other business the commissioners:
- Approved an motion renaming the creek walk along Lynn Camp Creek in honor of Commissioner Ed Tye. Mayor Willard McBurney and several commissioners noted that the effort to the build creek walk faced multiple hurdles and setbacks but that Tye continued to push for the project.
- Approved the first reading of an ordinance extending the Corbin city limits west along Ky. 312 to the Laurel River. The ordinance is similar to the one that annexed Fifth Street Road into the city in that it only covers the roadway and does not include any private property adjoining the road. Property owners that would want to be annexed into the city would have to make a separate request to the city commission.
- Approved the first reading of an ordinance annexing the property occupied by Felts Music Palace on Fifth Street Road into the Corbin city limits.
- Approved the second reading of an ordinance annexing the property owned by Don Philpot and Brenda Buttery at 899 S. Ky. 26 into the city limits.