SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 16, 2012

70 percent tax break suggested for developers

(Continued)

“It’s not enough to have a bunch of residential housing built on Rantoul Street,” Houseman said. “It should be the right kind of residential housing. I want to make sure the city really gets what it’s looking for.”

The goal of the tax program is to encourage developers to build housing, most likely apartments, on a 24-acre stretch of Rantoul Street from Edwards Street to Bow Street. The area is considered potentially attractive because of its proximity to the train station and a 500-car MBTA garage that is about to be built.

The tax program requires that 25 percent of the residential units be affordable to people earning 80 percent of the area’s median income. A single person with an income of $45,500 would qualify.

The tax breaks would apply only to improvements that a developer makes to a property. The city would never collect less than the current taxes paid on a property.

The City Council is allowed to set the upper limit of the tax breaks. The mayor is free to negotiate a lower break with each individual developer. The program would have a “sunset clause” that would allow it to be reviewed after five years.

“If we buy into the concept of a TIF, I think it’s important that we pass one that actually works and doesn’t sit on a shelf and not make a lick of difference,” Councilor Jason Silva said.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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