ANDERSON — Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Anderson City Council has approved a record number of residential tax abatements.

The Anderson Economic Development Commission and the City Council Thursday unanimously approved three-year tax abatements for the construction of five new houses. That brings the total to 26 in 2020 with a value of $7.2 million.

Daphne Holtzleiter of Mustin Builders, which had tax abatements approved for a duplex in South Main Village, said she could bring another four to six requests before the end of the year.

Of the steady construction of new housing in Anderson, Hotzleiter said people stayed at home more because of the pandemic and realized more space was needed for their families.

She said several people who were spending part of the year in Anderson and part in Florida have decided to permanently locate in Anderson.

“A few looked at the Pendleton area,” Holtzleiter said, “but the tax abatement brought them to Anderson.”

She said Mustin Builders has six lots remaining in South Main Village.

“We’re looking at developing the next phase,” she said.

Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said more people are investing in their homes and many are consolidating multiple homes into one location.

“Given the low interest rates this would’ve been a very busy year anyway, but the pandemic is actually acting as a multiplier for this economic activity,” he said.

The Anderson City Council passed an ordinance extending the residential tax abatement for another year through two of the three required readings.

The program was started in 1981 during the administration of Mayor J. Mark Lawler to encourage people to reside in Anderson.

Winkler said the administration of Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. is still discussing the program for 2021 and will ask for final approval at the December meeting.

“It’s a program that seems to work very well,” he said.

Councilwoman Rebecca Crumes said people remodeling existing homes should be eligible for a tax abatement.

Karen Soetenga said there is a program governed by state statute.

“It’s limited in the help it can provide,” she said.

Soetenga said the tax abatement for existing homes is based on the change in assessed value for property tax purposes.

The tax abatements approved include Donald and Sherri Keck for construction of a $230,000 house in the Apple Downs subdivision; request of Jason and Melisa Cooper for building a $340,500 house in Apple Downs; request of Danny and Suellen Turner for construction of a $265,000 house in Apple Downs; request of Mustin Builders for construction of two properties valued at $219,770 and $199,210.
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