Rutland City Blighted properties could get tax helpBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 24,2013City officials are looking for one vote from residents and another from the Legislature.
Rutland voters will get a chance to weigh in at town meeting on granting the Board of Aldermen the authority to make tax stabilization deals on residential properties. From the Legislature, city leaders hope to get an expansion of the state law that governs such deals.
The Board of Aldermen voted 6-2 Tuesday night in favor of placing the question on the March ballot.
The only argument against the measure came from Alderman Charles Romeo, who said he supported the intent but believed the city was reading state statute wrong and that the voters would have to approve each residential tax stabilization rather than authorizing the board to do so as they arose. Alderman Jon Kiernan cast the other dissenting vote without comment.
Brennan Duffy, Rutland Redevelopment Authority executive director, brought the proposal to the board, offering it as a tool in the city’s fight against blighted housing. The goal, he said, is to offer to freeze the municipal assessments of blighted properties for five years when owners are willing to make substantial improvements to those properties.
Alderwoman Sharon Davis said the measure would give homeowners an incentive to help stabilize their neighborhoods, and several other aldermen joined her in the sentiment.
The only comment from the public came from Cam Johnston, who said the measure was premature without an official definition of “blight” and that he believed it would open the city to lawsuits.
State statute, however, would limit eligibility to homeowners with below-median incomes. Duffy had said he hopes to see that changed by the Legislature in order to promote mixed-income neighborhoods, and he said Tuesday that the Vermont Agency of Commerce was favorable to such a change.
Reached Wednesday, Rep. Herb Russell, D-Rutland City, said he had been paying attention to the issue and stood ready to introduce something changing the statute whenever he gets a go-ahead from city leaders.
“It would be good to get going with it,” he said. “If, in fact, they need my help, I’m ready to go.”
Louras said he expects to speak with Russell in Montpelier today.
“I’ll tell him to go forth and prosper,” he said.
@Tagline:gordon.dritschilo @rutlandherald.comMORE IN Local & StateThe Rutland Town Select Board plans to appoint a new member next week who will serve until a... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.