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Board approves spending for historical preservation

Downtown businesses could receive tax credits as a result

Ashley Sarver is working with the Village of Mt. Morris as an architect and consultant on its downtown area possibly being approved as a historical preservation district. The designation could result in state and federal tax credits.
Ashley Sarver is working with the Village of Mt. Morris as an architect and consultant on its downtown area possibly being approved as a historical preservation district. The designation could result in state and federal tax credits.

The Mt. Morris Village Board unanimously approved a motion on Tuesday to spend $15,000 in tax increment funding money on applying for its downtown area to become a historical preservation district. 

That designation would result in 20 percent tax credits from the federal government and possibly an additional 25 percent in tax credits from the state government if the buildings and areas are approved. Projects for businesses in those buildings would benefit from those credits.

“Two current business owners and a prospective downtown property owner have made it clear that the credits that would flow from historical preservation designation are, if not essential, at least critical to the investments that they would make downtown,” Mt. Morris Economic Development Group Member Rob Urish said. 

Ashley Sarver is working with the city as an architect and historic tax credit consultant on the project. The process could take from nine months to a year for full approval.

“We may come across some buildings that have been altered so much that they would be considered non contributing buildings,” Sarver said. “But our goal is to get as many structures within the downtown of Mt. Morris to be contributing.”

The downtown area is already in a TIF district. The city currently has $127,000 on hand in TIF funds after the $15,000 expenditure.

During the finance portion of the meeting, the board unanimously approved a motion to suspend loan repayment for The Campus Cafe on funds it used to complete repairs on its roof. The Campus Cafe’s dining room is currently closed due to COVID-19. Their loan repayment will resume in July. 

The village board also unanimously approved a motion to delay liquor license, gaming and amusement fees from May 1 until Aug. 1 in an effort to help businesses currently dealing with lost funds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bars in the village usually pay around $1,000 in total for those fees. 

Late fees for residents on water, sewer and garbage payments were suspended for April, May and June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty days will be allowed prior to any water shutoff. 

The meeting was held online via Zoom. This was the first online meeting the village board has had.