Idea can help cities, villages

Our villages and cities need people who care enough to invest in, and maintain, their properties.

With that in mind, we were glad to see the Fulton County Board of Supervisors approve a law to give property owners a tax break if they convert buildings to mixed residential and commercial use.

The law establishes a property tax exemption for nonresidential property converted to mixed-use property. Under the plan, the county will provide 12 years of tax incentives to county property owners who convert existing commercial buildings to mixed-use buildings with both business and residential space. The exemption is applied to the value of the taxable improvements.

The law applies to renovations costing more than $10,000 and provides a 100 percent exemption on the taxable amount of improvements for eight years. The exemption then decreases by 20 percent a year until expiring in the 13th year.

This law may help the area in and around Gloversville’s struggling downtown. It encourages development downtown, even if it only leads to more people living in that area. No city or village can survive if its downtown lacks commercial and residential vitality. Both are needed to ensure a downtown remains a vibrant part of the local landscape.

While the law immediately benefits Gloversville – which already has passed its own version – it could help others. We encourage Johnstown and Fulton County’s villages to consider the measure.

Municipalities also should look at other ways they could offer tax exemptions to stimulate economic development.

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