The Gulfport City Council will consider giving tax breaks to three businesses which have made property improvements.
Such tax breaks are allowed under the city's tax abatement program which exempts businesses owners from paying taxes for seven years on the added value of their property.
The properties on Tuesday's agenda are: 1301 25th Avenue, which houses Jason Rosetti's dental clinic on the second floor; The Other Bar, located at 2214 25th Avenue; and Lookout Steakhouse and Kilted Kelly's located at 1301 26th Avenue. All three properties are in Gulfport's downtown district.
Gulfport City Council President Ricky Dombrowski said the program is meant to entice business development. He told WLOX News he'd like to see more businesses participate in the program. Dombrowski points to the Teagarden Road and parts of Highway 90 areas as prime examples of areas still lacking in development since Hurricane Katrina.
"We lost hotels restaurants, retail stores. We lost at least 25 businesses right there in that small little area along Highway 90 between Courthouse Road and Cowan Lorraine Road south of the tracks," Dombrowski said. "We'd love for more businesses to take part in the program."
To qualify for the tax break, businesses must meet strict criteria and get approval from both the city and county. The three businesses up for approval have $150,000 worth of improvements and are located in a tax abatement approved district.
The seven year tax break exempts businesses from paying municipal ad valorem taxes for the renovated parts of their building, however, the business must still pay school taxes.
"The taxes that are exempt are on the improvements. Not on the actual property. You're still paying property taxes, you're just not paying for the improvement part," Dombrowski explained.
"The simplest way to explain the incentive is that the owner's property taxes are "frozen" at the pre-improved value for up to seven years. For instance, if a property is worth $100,000 and an owner improves it and it becomes worth $500,000, their property taxes are based on the $100,000 value for the incentive's time frame," explained Lisa Bradley, Business and Economic Development Coordinator.
The county and Gulfport Redevelopment Commission must also look over the tax program applicants.
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