County votes to incentivize historic preservation, investment in Vicksburg’s central business district
The Warren County Board of Supervisors on Monday expanded its tax abatement ordinance to incentivize historic preservation and investment in Vicksburg’s central business district for new residential structures.
Previously, increases in property values were eligible for county tax abatements for commercial structures as well as residential rehabilitation, while the city of Vicksburg allowed for abatements of both new and renovated commercial and residential buildings.
The policies are now consistent for both city and county property tax abatements.
The board voted 3 to 2 to expand the tax abatement ordinance with District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson, who serves as the board vice-president and District 2 Supervisor William Banks dissenting.
Prior to the vote, a public forum was held where Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. encouraged the supervisors to amend their tax abatement ordinance for the central business district and the historic preservation district.
Flaggs, who was in the Mississippi legislature for 20 years, said the city’s tax abatement was put in place with the intent to support historical districts in urban and municipal areas.
“This is for new construction and is to provide incentives for folks going in blighted areas to create new construction whether it be residential or commercial so you can improve the district and add value to the district,” Flaggs said. “It was given to the municipal urban area because that’s where we recognized blight.”
Flaggs also said amending the tax abatement order would be positive for all.
“It’s good for the city, it’s good for the county and it’s good for the state because it spurs new growth –residential growth and commercial growth within the urban areas and inner-city areas of the state,” he said.
Following the mayor’s remarks, Jackson addressed the board, making the case for not only amending the tax abatement for the historic preservation and central business districts but to all areas.
“I believe Warren County missed the mark on this one, the city missed the mark leading with it,” Jackson said. “This privilege that is offered to these two areas can and should immediately be offered across the entire city of Vicksburg.”
District 4 Supervisor Dr. Jeff Holland, who serves as board president and who cast the deciding vote, said in the future he would like to explore additional opportunities to expand the tax abatement, but for now he is glad the ordinance was amended.
“It’s a solid thing for the community,” Holland said. “It is important for the city and county to be in lockstep on that and now the county matches what the city has,” he said.
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