City Manager Jason Molino got a warm reception Monday from the board of Batavia city schools when he pitched the idea of extending a pair of tax exemptions for property owners who make improvements.
The city council has already passed the exemptions and now Molino is trying to get both the school board and the county legislature to follow suit.
Getting the exemptions extended to the other agencies would "help us do a better job of marketing the exemptions," Molino said. "It would make it a much more attractive incentive."
One exemption applies to commercial or residential property owners and has been on the books in Batavia for some time. It would provide a tax abatement on the increased assessment that might result from restoration or significant improvements to a property.
Putting on a new roof, for example, wouldn't qualify, but if a property owner who resided there, installed a new roof, put in new windows and made other repairs to a rundown property, it could qualify for tax abatement.
An addition to a property that drives up the assessed value would also qualify.
The second exemption applies to owners of commercial property who convert the property to mixed use and include residential.
For example, a three-story downtown building that remained retail on the first floor but was converted to residential on the second and third floors would qualify.
The exemptions work like a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) in commercial development where the property owner continues paying taxes at the same rate on the original assessed value of the property, bu gets a graduated break on the taxes related to the increase in assessed value over a period of years.
The program, according to Molino, is designed to foster improvements to local property and drive the city's strategic goal of bringing more residents into Downtown Batavia.
No board members spoke against supporting the proposal.
The district's attorney will need to draft resolutions in order for the school district to adopt the exemptions.
"Anything we can do to strengthen the housing stock in the City of Batavia, we should absolutely be doing," Trustee Steve Mountain said.