ELDRED, NY — Highland officials on February 13 threw the town’s hat into the ring for a new economic development program spawned by the recent federal tax legislation, the Opportunity …
ELDRED, NY — Highland officials on February 13 threw the town’s hat into the ring for a new economic development program spawned by the recent federal tax legislation, the Opportunity Zones Program.
Originally introduced in the Investing in Opportunity Act (IIOA), the Opportunity Zones Program was enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The program is designed to drive long-term capital to rural and low-income urban communities throughout the nation, and uses tax incentives to encourage private investment in impact funds. It was conceived as a systematic approach to addressing the uneven economic recovery and persistent lack of growth that have left too many American communities behind.
The program requires no local government funding.
Using census income information, zones have been drawn throughout the states. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has until late March to nominate the census tracts in New York State to be designated as Opportunity Zones, but may only nominate up to 25% of the census tracts that qualify. Qualified Sullivan zones include portions of the towns of Bethel, Liberty, Fallsburg, Mamakating and Thompson and the villages of Liberty, Woodridge and Wurtsboro. Included in their entirety are Highland and the Village of Monticello.
This is the first new community development tax incentive program enacted since the Clinton administration, providing an opportunity for mainstream private investors to support businesses and distressed communities. The expectation is that “Opportunity Funds” will ease the execution of “impact investments” for investors.
Tax benefits derived from these investments will incentivize participation in the Opportunity Zones Program. U.S. investors are eligible to receive a temporary tax deferral and other tax benefits when they roll over unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds for a minimum of five years. Fund investments held for seven and up to 10 years receive greater tax benefits. Opportunity Funds may be invested in stock in a domestic corporation, capital or profits interest in a domestic partnership, or tangible property used in a trade or business of the Opportunity Fund that substantially improves the property.
The program announcement from the Sullivan County Division of Planning, Community Development & Real Property notes that details for creation of specific local recipient funds have not yet been released by the Department of the Treasury. Planners recommended local passage of a resolution supporting designation, which the county will then endorse with its supporting resolution to the governor. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/ybhfqkn7.
The town board unanimously approved the resolution.
In other business last week, Alice Foster was appointed as clerk to the code enforcement officer, and the highway superintendent’s $300,000 seasonal road construction plan, with specifics including paving of the Devlin Road and the Mohican Lake Road to the town line, was approved.
The board also approved a resolution forwarded from the Dutchess County executive calling for a “Think Differently” initiative concerning people on the autism spectrum, “to foster a welcoming and supportive environment for residents with special needs… to change hearts and minds and include every individual of every ability into their communities.”
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