Carson City redevelopment money should be used to help refurbish buildings, not help to keep up with routine maintenance.
The decision by city supervisors Thursday reduced funding requested for a William Street redevelopment project and caused a building owner to rethink remodeling plans.
City supervisors, also the city's Redevelopment Authority, approved only enough incentive money to help with exterior remodeling on the Bank of America Building. Owner Madalena C. Farrow had requested $100,000 of redevelopment funding but received around $80,000 for exterior and a few interior improvements to the building on the corner of William and Roop streets.
Farrow said she planned to start construction on the project July 1, but now may not proceed with the project "because they didn't give me all the money I was asking for."
The redevelopment authority incentive program offers to subsidize 20 percent up to $100,000 of estimated renovation costs of rundown structures in the redevelopment district, an area basically encompassing downtown as well as a portion of William Street and Highway 50 East to Mills Park. Incentive funds have helped in projects such as the former Golden Spike building, now Washington Street Station.
Mayor Ray Masayko pressed the authority not to approve the complete project just because it qualified for a $100,000 incentive. The project included repair and upgrades to the building's HVAC system that Masayko and Supervisor Richard Staub argued are items that building owners should repair.
"Redevelopment is a little bit different than repair," Staub said. "The intent is to take blighted or dilapidated property and provide some economic assistance to proceed with the project. I don't believe that redevelopment funds were intended for common maintenance and repairs."
Making an eyesore an asset should continue to be the main function of redevelopment incentive dollars, Staub argued.
Both Masayko and Staub argued the city shouldn't spend incentive dollars just because they have the money to do it. Saving money could help projects in more need of funding later, they said.
"We do not have a limitless supply of incentives, and we want to extend incentives where otherwise a project couldn't be done," Masayko said.
Improvements slated for the building, besides the heat, air conditioning and ventilation improvements, include exterior shade structures, concrete and stucco arches and landscaping. The repairs are estimated at $500,000.
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