County offers 5-year tax break to attract new residential housing

The chronic housing shortage that’s so often in the news isn’t confined to the Twin Cities metro area. Residents in rural Minnesota can run into the same problem, prompting one primarily agricultural county to try to provide a new incentive designed to attract new residential housing.

Renville County elected officials have decided to take the same approach long used to support economic development to encourage the construction of new residential housing in the southwestern county. A five-year break from paying county taxes is now available for the first time, according to the West Central Tribune.

The Renville County Board of Commissioners approved the first applicants for tax abatements for the construction of residential property in the county.

In action on Tuesday, the commissioners approved five-year abatements on the county portion of taxes for two, separate single-family homes and for a two-unit townhouse. The single-family homes are located in Wellington Township and the City of Fairfax, and are owned by individuals. The townhouse is located in Fairfax and is being constructed by Northland Lumber and Supply.

There are limitations on the amount of county taxes to be forgiven for qualifying new residential housing. But applicants have already lined up to cash in on what amounts to a substantial tax cut.

In their action on Tuesday, the commissioners approved abatements estimated to total $3,616 per single-family home and $4,200 for the townhouse.

County Auditor/Treasurer Marc Iverson said the property owners will receive full tax statements, and then will submit a form to receive the abatement. The abatement applies only to the county taxes. The property owners will not receive an abatement on school, township or municipal property taxes.

The tax abatement program may not lead to a building boom. But officials hope the incentive will help fill a long time need and bring in new residents to the county.

County Administrator Lisa Herges said a county housing study completed a few years ago showed the need for more residential development. Herges told the West Central Tribune that housing availability is one of the most frequently cited concerns when job applicants look to relocate to Renville County.