The Register Guard has been reporting on the debate to award an Illinois developer of student housing a ten year tax break for building in Eugene, Oregon. The council has approved a $4.5 million property tax exemption but a citizen initiative may be able to reverse the decision.
The council voted 5-3 to grant the waiver that will save Chicago-based Core Campus an estimated $455,000 a year, or $4.55 million in property taxes in the 10 years following the building’s completion.
The decision came after extensive debate among councilors with different opinions about granting the tax waiver during a student apartment housing boom. Many similar projects are not receiving the tax waivers under the state sanctioned Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) program.
Meanwhile, neighborhood community activist Paul Conte said Monday night that he intends to file a ballot initiative petition with the city this morning that would terminate the city’s MUPTE program.
Conte, who did not attend Monday’s council session, said he and others hope to gather as many as 10,000 signatures in a 90-day period to refer the issue to voters. It was unclear Monday how many valid voter signatures would be required to send the matter to the ballot.