USD 489 BOE discusses neighborhood revitalization expansion

By ALICIA FEYERHERM

Tiger Media Network

USD 489 Board of Education met on Monday. Due to snow, this was the first board meeting with the new board members elected in November.

Management Analyst Jarrod Kuckelman presented on the city’s neighborhood revitalization plan expansion. The neighborhood revitalization plan began in 2002 and works as an economic incentive by providing property tax rebates for 10 years to property owners who make improvements that raise the assessed value of their property. 

“This can encourage new construction or the rehabilitation and renovation of existing properties that might not otherwise have occurred,” Kickelman said. 

Currently, residential properties are required to invest $25,000 and commercial properties are required to invest $50,000. Eligibility for the program depends on whether the property falls within the NRP area. Additionally, properties must be at least 50 years old. 

“The NRP program has been a successful part of several different projects over the last few years,” Kuckelman said. 

The Fort Tavern and Patio Barn was part of the neighborhood revitalization plan when it was remodeled from the Wild Rose.

Kuckelman is advocating for expanding the NRP to include other areas of Hays, specifically ones with infrastructure that has reached or will soon be reaching the 50-year mark. The last expansion of the program was approved in 2017. 

“Now that several years have passed since then, the properties that are aging and approaching 50 years outside of the eligible NRP area has grown,” Kuckelman said. 

This new expansion is larger than the last, which Kuckelman says is to pre-empt the need to continually ask for the area to be expanded.

Before the expansion goes into effect, the City Commission must hold a public hearing, then a resolution would have to be passed by all three governing bodies (the city, the county and the school district). All these governing bodies must agree to the expansion because the shares of all three entities are included in the rebate. Those entities do not give up any current tax revenue, but the incremental increases in property value go into the rebate for 10 years. 

Kuckelman said this presentation was merely informational, and it may be March before the board would see an official resolution or action item on the expansion. 

“I think that’s all positive for the city of Hays, including USD 489,” board member Ruth Ruder said. 

Other items covered at the meeting: 

  • Superintendent Ron Wilson gave an update on the bond construction at Hays High School and Roosevelt Elementary
  • Board members had a first reading of the proposed Kansas Association of School Boards policy changes
  • The board approved the extension of administrator contracts for one year 

The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on February 5 in the Toepfer Board Room. 

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