The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, will hold act on a Resolution establishing an Urban Revitalization Plan for the City, and, the first reading of “An Ordinance designating the 2014 City of Atlantic Urban Revitalization Area.” Both will follow a required public hearing on the Plan. The URP as presented has some significant changes from the last version the Council reviewed.
For instance, the Community Development Committee has recommended a prohibition on granting both Tax Increment Finacing (TIF) benefits and Tax Abatements on project properties, be removed. Two other changes were made after the URP was reviewed by the City’s bond counsel, Bob Jostens. Jostens’ legal opinion was that contrary to SWIPCO’s assertion, the entire City of Atlantic is not blighted, and therefore the newer, non-blighted areas would not qualify for more favorable tax treatment limits (granting tax exemptions on new added value up to $250,000), and that Tax Abatements in the newer area (south of 14th Street) be limited to the first $75,000 in added value.
However, the Community Development Committee minimized the effect of the legal abatement recommended by Jostens, by increasing the Tax Exemption rate schedule from 80% to 100% for the first through 5th years. The variance will be a continuum with abatements steadily increasing for improvements under $125,000 and decreasing as values exceed $250,000. The plan would also significantly increase the abatement amounts on all commercial improvements, regardless of location.
And, whereas the original URP said “Improvements that began after Jan. 1st, 2014 and not completed prior to adoption of the plan may be eligible for abatement,” the Committee will leave it up to the County Assessor, who has indicated she would have to use the Jan. 1, 2014 Assessments (which are based on inspections made in the fall of 2013), as the base. Any increase in valuation due to improvements that was completed at the time of her inspections this fall, may be eligible for a tax abatement. Another option is to set Jan. 1st, 2015, as the base for valuations, which would limit the length of the program to 3 years, as originally intended.
In other business, the Atlantic City Council will act on a recommendation by the Personnel and Finance Committee to issue a loan amounting to $400,000 at an interest rate of 4-percent, to developer Pat McCurdy, who plans to build a 24-unit apartment complex near the existing Walnut Hill Apartment building at 1300 E. 10th Street. The loan would be contingent upon McCurdy’s grant application being approved by the State, in January, 2015.
The Atlantic City Council meeting begins at 5:30-p.m., Wednesday, in their chambers at City Hall.