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Executive Kittleman proposes expanding renovations qualifying for historic property tax credits

December 22, 2016

Media Contact:
Deidre McCabe, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – County Executive Allan H. Kittleman will pre-file legislation today that will expand eligibility for tax credits when making repairs and improvements to historic properties.

Current historic property tax credits focus on exterior and structural improvements, but many structures badly damaged during the Ellicott City flooding July 30 require extensive interior repairs and renovations as well.

“We want to provide the best tools possible so that they are of greatest help to property owners hit hard during the flood,” said Kittleman. “Many property owners are stretched to the limit trying to get their structures repaired and reoccupied, and we want to help property owners as much as we can.”

Stanley Milesky, Director of the County’s Department of Finance, said he reviewed legislation in other jurisdictions using the historic assessment credit to see how it was applied. “Other jurisdictions did not have such a limited definition of eligible work and allowed the assessment credit for any renovation that added value to the property. The expansion of this tax credit will encourage improvements and prevent blight,” he said.

Currently, to be eligible for the historic assessment credit in Howard County, improvements have to be pre-approved by the Historic Preservation Commission and are limited to exterior refurbishing, including siding and roofs, and structural improvements. It does not include major interior repairs.

The proposed legislation removes the need for pre-approval for many types of repairs and provides an expansion of the definition of work eligible for the tax credit. All exterior work on the property must still meet the requirements of the Historic Preservation Commission and the Commission will still be involved in providing a Certificate of Eligibility.

There are currently 87 historic properties that would immediately qualify for these tax credits, most of which are located in Ellicott City’s historic district. If all eligible properties were to receive the maximum credit allowed, the amount would not exceed $2.7 million in historic property tax credits over a 10-year period. In the future, other properties may qualify for this credit as well.

The County Council is scheduled to vote on the historic properties tax credit bill on Feb. 6, 2017.