How Commercial Development Can Increase Tax Rateables

By Elizabeth Bell
Picture of construction site with the text "Increasing Tax Rateables"

COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives. With staggering rates of unemployment, some states still shut down and the threat of a second wave, many entities are looking for ways to boost their local economies. One group working to develop a strong tax base is the Alliance for Balanced Growth (ABG). The ABG is a committee of the Orange County Partnership that advocates for sustainable and balanced development. Our own Andrew Fetherston, PE, co-chairman of the ABG since 2014, recently hosted a virtual webinar with a team of experts on how municipalities can increase tax rateables and recoup lost revenue through commercial real estate.

Property taxes tend to be the number one source of revenue for state and local governments. The ABG promotes increasing commercial tax revenues to offset the residential tax burden. In Orange County, NY, commercial taxes pay 30% of the tax burden while occupying only 7% of the total tax parcels. These facts as well as other guidance is provided in the ABG guide.

Commercial development in New York must undergo a thorough environmental review process (SEQRA). So, it should come as no surprise that developers will seek out a process that is both cooperative and predictable. But if it was important for municipal leaders to be aware of the application steps before, COVID has made it a necessity. This process has been further complicated with virtual meetings and digital submittals, varied rules on making presentations to Boards, limitations on the number of representatives at meetings, working remotely and so on and so forth. Once again, ABG has a convenient guide, Understanding the Approval Process.

For development in New York, we’d also suggest taking a look at the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) cookbook.

Want the bigger picture? View the whole ABG virtual meeting here.

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