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Changes may be in store for the City of Decorah's property tax abatement program

Posted: Tue, Dec 4, 2018 6:01 AM

For the past four years the City of Decorah has had a property tax abatement program to encourage home construction within the city.  But it's possible the property tax abatement program for 2019--if there is one--will look different than 2018's program.

In January, the Decorah City Council lifted the cap on the value of construction projects which would get the tax abatements.  Previously, $400,000 had been the maximum construction value receiving the tax break, but that was lifted and any new home qualified.

City Council member Dan Bellrichard said the tax abatements were not helping to create more low- to moderate-income housing in Decorah.  "If your goal is to increase affordable housing through this program, it's not going to happen," he said.  City council member Ross Hadley said the city needs to incentivize rental housing to encourage young people to stay in Decorah.

Following a lengthy discussion, city council member Johanna Bergan stated the council had a lot of housing goals it wanted to achieve and council members needed to prioritize them.  Her fellow council members agreed and the issue has been referred to a committee.