An extension of part of the city of Basehor’s Neighborhood Revitalization Plan was rejected Monday by the Leavenworth County Commission, without it having come up for a vote.
An extension of part of the city of Basehor’s Neighborhood Revitalization Plan was rejected Monday by the Leavenworth County Commission, without it having come up for a vote. The plan, authorized by state law and one of at least four among Leavenworth County’s cities, rebates property taxes for eligible homeowners in areas identified as “blighted” by the city who make improvements to their property. When Basehor’s plan was first approved in 2009, it was singled out among others in the county for its inclusion of vacant lots. It was, however, approved at the time. Under the plan, those homeowners who make improvements to their properties and apply for the program receive a rebate of 95 percent of their property taxes in excess of the original value between the first and third years and 50 percent of those taxes in the fourth through sixth years. After the sixth year, those homeowners would pay the full value of their property taxes. Current Basehor Mayor David Breuer, speaking to the commission Monday in support of the program, said the success of the NRP was measurable — since it was instituted, he said the number of building permits in Basehor has outpaced those of the county’s other cities. According to October 2012 statistics from the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, Basehor led the county in housing starts, with 30 for the year. Its nearest competitor, the city of Leavenworth, had 16. Since beginning the program, Breuer said there have been 70 permits filed in the city. “It has helped our community move forward,” he said. County Appraiser Bob Weber had suggested three changes to the plans — namely, to eliminate the minimum new home value of $140,000 from the eligibility requirements and to require recorded plats for properties to be eligible. Breuer said he had come to agreement on those stipulations. Commissioner Clyde Graeber, however, said he did not support Basehor’s plan before and would not again, mostly because of the eligibility for new home construction. “Someone owns this home and pays the full load of taxes, someone buys this (vacant) lot and builds a home, they’re tax-free for seven years,” he said. “That does not seem equitable.” The city needs to be aggressive, Breuer argued, because of the communities to its east. “Since August 2012, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County has waived all building permits for new residential construction until December 2013,” he said. “It proves hard to compete with that unless you have some kind of plan in place.” Breuer said that any permits the county loses out on because they do not have an incentive to offer are gone forever. “We have one chance to appeal to a buyer,” he said. Furthermore, Commission Chairman John Flower said there are multiple legal opinions on including vacant lots in Neighborhood Revitalization Plans. At the end of the conversation, Flower introduced a motion to extend the city’s NRP plans until Dec. 31, 2014. The motion did not garner a second and died on the floor.