By Michael S. Gawel for Niagara Falls City Council
No one wants to pay more taxes. In fact, a big part of my career has been devoted to help people find legal ways to pay less income taxes. As for City property taxes, you can decrease the individual tax burden by cutting city services, funding new revenue sources or increasing the tax base.
There are a number of ways to increase the tax base; have business and industry build more buildings like Urbacon or bars and restaurants on Third Street. Another way is to increase the residential tax bases by building new homes or encouraging individuals to renovate their existing homes to increase assessed values. However, no one wants city taxes increased, and I don’t blame them.
As a City Councilman, I’d propose one more – A yearly in rem sale of City property or properties that have defaulted on City taxes. This would take the property out of city ownership, relieving the city of maintenance costs and putting the property on the tax roles. These properties would be rehabbed and occupied , raising real estate tax revenue; or rehabbed for Air B & B and then put on the tax roles and raising money from occupancy tax.
Increasing the frequency of in rem sales would mean less properties at each sale, allowing people with limited funds a greater chance of acquiring properties.