CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Cities across North Carolina, in conjunction with the NC Metro Mayors Coalition, are working towards the reinstatement of the Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credit program of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (also known as Historic Tax Credits or HTC).
Concord Mayor Scott Padgett and all seven Concord City Council Members have joined the over 4,400 concerned people who have signed the petition at
, supporting the efforts of Governor Pat McCrory and NC Representative Jon Hardister to reinstate the Historic Tax Credit program during the next session of the General Assembly, according to a news release provided to WBTV by the Governor's Office.
The showpiece for the historic tax preservation credits in Concord is the old Heilig Meyers furniture building.
"We have a project right here in downtown Concord where the value of the building was $100,000, and it was about to get torn down," Mayor Padgett told WBTV. "Fortunately, by working with a developer and using the historic tax credits, that same building will now be valued at $2.5 million and house some market apartments for more than likely young couples, just breathes new life in downtown Concord."
A developer, helped by Salisbury bankers Steve and Paul Fisher at F & M Bank are bringing the building back.
The HTC is used by cities and towns of all sizes and provides an incentive to taxpayers who contribute to the preservation of historic buildings by rehabilitating them in a way that preserves the historic character of the building while allowing for new uses.
"There's no winners or losers in this, we're all winners because this affects small towns to large towns, it's all about preserving our past, jobs, reinvestment…preserve our buildings instead of tearing them down," Mayor Padgett added.
"And it's cheaper for the tax payers if this building is revived because we already have the infrastructure, the water and sewer, recycling," Governor McCrory said during his remarks. "We don't have to rebuilt something in a greenfield."
Since 1998, over 2,400 Historic Tax Credit projects have been completed statewide, bringing nearly $1.65 billion of private investment into North Carolina communities.
The press conference was held on Friday in the lobby of the old Concord Hotel in downtown. McCrory pointed out that as a young man he remembered eating Sunday lunch at a buffet in the hotel.
McCrory also said that the HTC would be one of the main topics he brings up during the State of the State address next month.
McCrory may face some opposition in his quest to have the HTC returned to the state budget. Opponents have said that the HTC often is seen as little more than a government subsidy.
Representative Carl Ford of Rowan County told WBTV on Friday that if the credits are returned, "there will be provisions to stop the sale of the HTC as a commodity and local government will have to provide matching grants. This is all speculation based on the continuation of tax reform."
Former Salisbury Mayor and now Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz pointed out that the Kluttz building on the square in downtown Salisbury is one example about how these credits were used to save an old building.