City Council delays controversial tax break vote for two weeks after outcry

City Council delays controversial tax break vote for two weeks after outcry

September 6th, 2016 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Politics Local

City Councilman Chris Anderson, left, makes a motion at a city council meeting.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

The City Council voted to defer for two weeks voting on the controversial tax break program after critics claimed the program was being rushed through without time for public input. 

The tax incentive program that offers 10-year tax breaks to developers building  apartments downtown, known as the the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes-program, or PILOT program, was recently revamped after months of critics calling for changes.

Those who have asked for the reform argued the program had done nothing to create affordable housing options for residents downtown, even though that's what the mayor's office had claimed the program was designed to do. 

In mid-July, Mayor Andy Berke announced that he would revamp the program with a better emphasis on affordable housing. But he didn't present specific details outlining the changes to the program.

Nearly two months later, the City Council was set to vote on the changes tonight, the first time the changes would be outlined publicly. 

Helen Burns Sharp, a retired city planner and founder of the watchdog group Accountability for Taxpayer Money, said she and others in the group are pleased the council has listened to their concerns.

The group is now asking to be heard during a committee meeting in two weeks when the council will talk about the new policy before voting on the changes. 


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