EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene City Council voted Wednesday to suspend tax exemptions for certain developers.
The Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption, or MUPTE, aimed to create incentives for developers to build useful housing projects in downtown Eugene. But city council thinks the ordinance needs some work.
The city has been trying to invite housing projects into the core of downtown by providing tax exemptions. While councilors like the idea, some felt that it was time for some developers to pay up.
“The city is not getting nearly the kind of benefits that it should be during the tax exemption,” said Eugene City Councilor Greg Evans.
That’s why the city council ultimately decided in a 5-4 vote, to suspend the incentive. They will spend the next few months tweaking the program that many consider a valuable tool.
While nearly all councilors admit it needs some work, they weren’t in favor of taking it off of the table.
“I think that we can rework this tool and re-craft it without having to go through the exercise of suspending the ordinance,” Evans said.
But the council noted that the community and developers alike want results quickly.
“I’m willing to believe that we would just really move as quickly as we could to get it done,” said Eugene City Councilor Chris Pryor.
City Councilor Betty Taylor noted that the description of who is eligible for a tax exemption is too vague and has caused the city problems.
“People seem to make the assumption that if they do those things they have to get the exemption which is not true,” said Taylor.
The tax exemptions for large housing properties are suspended for now, but the council hopes to revive them soon.
The city council hopes to have the issues with the MUPTE ordinance worked out by the beginning of July. Councilors made sure to include a deadline of June 30 to make sure they improve the tax exemptions quickly.