June 19, 2024
Property

Victoria offers tax refunds for property upgrades


By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
Hays Post

The city of Victoria is moving forward with a plan that aims
to beautify the community and spur growth while saving taxpayers money at the
same time.

After working on setting up a Neighborhood Revitalization
Plan for almost a year, the city of Victoria received the final approval
from the Ellis County Commission earlier this month. The city of Victoria and
the school district had already approved the plan.

The Neighborhood Revitalization Plan is a way to use economic incentives to spur economic
growth.

James Robben, director of business development at Grow Hays,
has been working with the city of Victoria on putting together a plan and
recently told the county commission, “the [Neighborhood Revitalization Plan] is an economic incentive that
helps develop personal property, industrial property or commercial property. So,
it’s a rebate on property taxes, if you improve your property.”

Robben said residents can apply for a project they
want to complete that will increase the value of their home, commercial or
historical property and they will get a percentage of the property taxes back
as a refund.

Residential properties would qualify for a 70 percent rebate, while commercial property would have a 90 percent rebate and properties on the Kansas Historical Registry would have a 100 percent reabte. The county will access a 5-percent administration fee.

Robben gave an example. A homeowner has a $10,000 house and pays
$1,000 worth of taxes. The value of the property increases by $10,000, to $20,000. The owner now pays $1,000 more in taxes. The homeowner would get $700
back.

The refund amount is locked in for the 10 years even though the
taxes on the property may fluctuate.

“It’s a way to help beautify a small, rural
community,” Robben said.

Robben said the project must first be approved by
the city. A property owner cannot just complete the work on the project and
expect to take advantage of the program.

The project has to be approved, completed and then the valuation
by the county appraiser’s office must show an increase in valuation of more than
$10,000 to be awarded the tax rebate, he said.

“It is a do-the-work and then get-their-reward-on-the-backside (program),” Robben said, “which I think is very important to
note that you’re not just giving up anything, you have to do the work and then
get the refund.”

Applicant will still pay
their taxes in full and will receive a refund through the program.

Ellis County Commissioner Michael Berges said it is also not
the amount of money that a property owner spends, it is the amount that the
property valuation increases.

“There are probably cases where you could put paint on
something and spruce it up and make it look a lot better,” Robben said. “And it
might only cost you $6,000, you might appraise for $10,000 …

 “Or it could be an
empty lot with nothing on there and you put a building on and could increase
the valuation quite a bit,” Robben said.

Victoria Mayor John Schulte said the city has already had
residents show interest in the program.

The program, just like the city of Hays’ Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, will be
administered through the local city office. Robben said the city of Victoria is working
with city employees to make sure staff understands how to implement the
program.

Because everything hinges on property valuation at the end
of the project, Robben said it will take a lot of education at first. He said
he will serve as a resource and suggests interested parties work with the Ellis County appraiser’s office.



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