North Dakota Senate passes bill to update Renaissance Zone program
The 1999 Legislature created the Renaissance Zone Program. More than 1,500 projects have been completed under the program.
BISMARCK -- Proposed changes to North Dakota's Renaissance Zone community development program cleared the state Senate on Monday, a bill in line with a plea from Gov. Doug Burgum to the Legislature last month.
Senate Bill 2391, brought by Sen. Jonathan Sickler, R-Grand Forks, passed in a 40-5 vote. The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives.
The 1999 Legislature created the Renaissance Zone Program; 62 communities have joined since, with 54 of them active. More than 1,500 projects have been completed under the program.
Renaissance Zone projects receive up to five years of tax breaks, but do continue to pay property taxes on the land value during the exemption period. North Dakota's state Commerce Department manages the Renaissance Zone programs.
The bill would extend the program's benefit term from five years to eight, increase the extension of cities' zone status from increments of five years to 10, and allow a zone to have a second area outside its continuous boundary but no more than three square blocks in size, among other changes.
Another change would make properties eligible again for Renaissance Zone benefits 30 years after a project's completion, to help heavily used, older buildings, according to Sen. Dean Rummel, R-Dickinson.
Burgum in his State of the State address to the Legislature in January called on lawmakers to "reinvigorate" the Renaissance Zone program "by allowing additional flexibility and reentry into the program and to reduce red tape and barriers to having projects approved."
Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said the bill "largely aligns" with what Burgum called for in his speech.
The House last month passed a bill to allow communities to reenter the Renaissance Zone program. Zones in several cities, including Bismarck, expired in recent years, with no way to reapply. House Bill 1266 goes to the Senate.
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