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Burlington Ponders New Incentive

Burlington might offer a new financial incentive to boost housing in and around the city’s downtown district.

The city's current policy is to waive the property taxes due on any improvement to a residential property for three years, including the downtown.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says aldermen are considering whether to waive those taxes for seven years and allow reduced payments for another three years.

He says plans like this are becoming more common in cities with similar or larger populations than Burlington.

“It is not just to have development occur but to try to see something help sustain an area that is underutilized and see if we can’t help jumpstart some of that.”

Ferneau says property owners would still pay taxes on the original value of the property.  He says Burlington has been studying downtown abatement programs for months.

The city has heard from developers who would like to see the new program offered city wide, not just a roughly 100-block section including and surrounding the downtown district.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held June 2, 2014 with a vote likely to occur after the hearing.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.