The plan by North Tonwanda lawmakers to give tax breaks for owners who turn commercial buildings into multiple-use properties is a great step. Under the proposal, the entire value of the improvements would be kept out of an assessment for the first eight years. In each of the next four years, assessments would increase by 20 percent of the value of the improvements.
Because our area was heavily dependent upon manufacturing in the past, we have a multitude of older buildings that can no longer serve in the capacity they were originally designed for. Giving property owners and investors an incentive to convert these properties into multi-use entities will only strengthen our infrastructure.
While we're quick to give kudos on this one, we'd like to make one suggestion - enact similar rules for residential homeowners. Too frequently the residential homeowners in our community invest significant amounts of money into their property only to see a tax increase as their reward.
A few years back the county legislature passed a provision to address just this issue, as it related to county taxes, giving residential homeowners a break on their assessment after a substantive improvement to their home. Every municipality in the county should be following suit.