By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The Shiawassee Board of Commissioners were to vote during their Thursday, July 16, meeting to approve the city of Laingsburg to create a commercial rehabilitation district, which will encompass roughly the city’s entire downtown area. The creation of the district will give the city the opportunity to offer tax abatements to business owners wishing to make substantial improvements to their buildings.
Brent Jones of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, attended the Wednesday Committee of the Whole meeting to show his support for the city, and he spoke about the benefits of the district.
“If a property owner is going to make a substantial investment in their building, obviously the taxes of that property are going to increase,” Jones said Wednesday. “If you are putting a lot of money into your building, that can put a business into a little bit of a cash flow crunch. What the abatement is designed to do is to help ease some of the burden from the tax side of it. The abatement would freeze the business’s tax rate for a period of one to ten years, depending on the significance of the project.”
Commissioner Hartmann Aue questioned Jones about the current existence of abatement applicants, to which Jones replied that receiving the Board of Commissioners’ approval is the first step toward creating the district, and that the approval of the motion would make it possible for the city of Laingsburg to accept applications in the future.
“This district is not actually putting any abatements through today, but this creates an area within the city of Laingsburg where, if somebody wishes to apply, they would now be able to do so,” Jones said. “The application would then go to the City Council, which would determine whether to approve it based on the merits of the project. The creation of the district needs to be approved by the Board of Commissioners, so we are just asking for you to put another tool in the hands of the city to attract more investments.”