Public Investment into Smart Growth Strategies
Two economic development public investment strategies that are key to our state’s future are the Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and the Vermont Downtown and Village Center redevelopment incentives. Below is a summary of the status of these programs.
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board is a proven engine of smart growth economic development. It invests into the construction of permanent affordable housing and the conservation of our working and natural landscape. Early in the Session, Governor Shumlin signaled that he considers VHCB a cornerstone of a strong economic development policy when he recommended a creative funding strategy totaling $12.6M, which is the proper investment amount warranted under the property transfer tax statutory formula.
The final budget trimmed that amount by about 5 percent but this is still a very strong appropriation for VHCB.
Downtown and Village Center Incentives
The Vermont Downtown and Village Center redevelopment incentives help property owners improve their older community center buildings. Smart Growth Vermont and the Preservation Trust of Vermont are the program’s key supporters. The Downtown Board is authorized to award $1.7 million worth of credits to property owners next year under an existing state statute.
Commissioner of Economic Development, Housing and Community Affairs, Noelle MacKay, proposed two important reforms to this program that were enacted. One change allows property owners to claim tax incentives for phases of projects, instead of being forced to complete the project before receiving the credits. The other change allows the Downtown Board to redirect tax incentive capacity to a new redevelopment if an awarded project dies with unused tax credit capacity.