Officials Update Tax Incentive Plan for Developers

CUMBERLAND — In a move that could spur new housing construction, Allegany County officials voted recently to update the incentive package offered to developers.

The current RETSA (Real Estate Tax Set-Aside Program) allows developers to collect up to 75 percent of actual real estate taxes over a 10-year period beginning with the contract agreement.

The newly enacted amendment will now allow a developer to collect real estate tax upon development occupancy, instead of at the time of the RETSA contract.

“There are two specific developments that have already expressed interest in doing this,” county administrator Brandon Butler said. “So I truly believe that the steps taken by the Board of County Commissioners Thursday night will lead to some residential development in this county.”

“It would be an actual 10-year window,” commission president Jake Shade said. “From the first occupancy permit, from the first house being completed, that’s kind of when the timetable would start.”

This, along with various other amendments, including the option to extend actual real estate tax reimbursement for five years, following the RETSA agreement will take effect on Oct. 7.

“Providing incentives for residential development is something we are absolutely in favor of,” Butler said. “We love when dirt gets moved.”