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Commissioners OK tax break for developer

| December 1, 2005 11:00 PM

A new business mall at the corner of Sixth Street Extension and U.S. Highway 2 will be getting a five-year break on its county taxes following action Wednesday by the Lincoln County Commissioners.

The commissioners voted to approve a request from Munro Investments, the owners of the property, under a state law allowing tax exemption and abatement for remodeling, reconstruction or expansion of an existing commercial building or structure that increases its value by at least 5 percent. The new mall, which will house several assorted businesses, is built on the site of the former Caboose restaurant and bar.

Under state law, the increase in taxable value may be exempted from taxation during the construction period, not to exceed 12 months. The increase in value may be taxed at 20 percent of full value during the first year following construction, 40 percent the second, 60 percent the third, 80 percent the fourth and 100 percent the fifth year.

While the form the tax break must take is defined by state law, the county commissioners have the final decision on whether or not to grant it, Commissioner John Konzen said.

"We have the right to decide if it's in the best interests of the county or not," he said.

The commissioners approved a tax break under a different statute, tied to job creation, for Revett's Troy Mine, Konzen said, but this is the first time the tax abatement for commercial property improvements has been implemented by the county.

"We're trying to help businesses get going," Konzen said.