Fairfield City Council passes revitalization plan into law
The Fairfield City Council unanimously passed the third and final reading of ordinance 1094 Monday night at city hall, making the city’s commercial, industrial and residential urban revitalization plan law.
The ordinance renews the city’s commercial and industrial tax abatement program, along with reinstating tax breaks for residential home improvements, which the city had discontinued in 2004.
According to the new law, the city is offering homeowners three years of tax exemption on as much as $75,000 of improvements. For commercial and industrial development, the ordinance offers a 100 percent break on the total value of improvements for a period of three years. The work must increase the value of the building by at least 10 percent in order to be eligible to apply. If a resident is building on undeveloped land, any improvements will qualify.
City attorney John Morrissey said residents can start the process by filling out an application form at city hall by Feb. 1 for current projects.
Councilwoman Connie Boyer asked if homeowners could apply for the abatement for a project completed in December.
“I’m sorry to say they can’t,” said Morrissey, explaining that projects can be in progress, but must not be completed when submitting the application.
However, Morrissey said residents can apply for two years of abatement for commercial and industrial projects completed prior to submitting an application.
The city council will review all applications. If the council approves the project, it would then go to the county assessor’s office.
The application includes questions about the nature of the improvement, its cost and its estimated date of completion. The county assessor does the physical assessment of the improvement. If a property owner is unhappy with the price the assessor determines as the value of the work done, Morrissey said the city would not be involved in the appeal process.
According to the plan, nine areas of town benefiting from a tax increment financing program are not be eligible for tax abatement. The areas include Fairfield Economic Development Association industrial park, Dexter industrial park, Park Place Subdivision, Southgate Condominiums, Carrington Pointe Condominiums, Wagon Wheel Senior Apartments, Jackson Pointe, Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and 227th Street.
While Morrissey said Tax Increment Financing areas are not the most conducive to home improvement as they are highly developed, he said homeowners can apply for the city to waive the restriction.