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Council discusses renewal strategies

Port Orchard’s City Council met Monday night to discuss the future of the city as a Community Renewal Area — with or without the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority.

Formerly the Urban Renewal Act, the Community Renewal Act focuses on the implementation of economic development projects in blighted areas, such as Port Orchard.

According to Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, the council is keeping its options open.

“Councilmembers wanted to understand the law from the state level,” Abel said. “We want to be clear on what it allows cities to do and where our authorities are.”

Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (KCCHA) Executive Director Norm McLoughlin met with members of the Port Orchard City Council last month to discuss using a new tax incentive program provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury to help Port Orchard’s revitalization efforts — similar to what has been done in Poulsbo and Bremerton.

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program was established in 2000 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help cities attract new businesses to urban areas. According to McLoughlin, the department awarded $40 million in incentives for business to the Kitsap County NMTC Facilitators I, LLC through last year’s New Markets Tax Credit Program.

Kitsap County NMTC Facilitators I, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority formed for the purpose of applying for and administering the New Market Tax Credit Program.

The program permits investors to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDE), such as the Kitsap County NMTC Facilitators I, LLC, which then use those funds in community improvement projects.

Abel said it is up to the council which CDE and which project to use in Port Orchard. But according to Jessie Palmer in KCCHA’s public affairs department, the program has already been very beneficial for Bremerton.

“Kitsap Bank and Kitsap County New Markets Tax Credits Facilitators I, LLC have just completed the first NMTC deal in Kitsap County with Pacific Avenue Partners in downtown Bremerton,” Palmer said. “The tax credits deal has saved two Bremerton businesses, Pacific Avenue Dental and American Maritime International, and together, Kitsap Bank and Kitsap County NMTCF hope to bring more businesses to the area — including Port Orchard.”

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