Our region is experiencing a lack of affordable housing which is limiting our ability to attract workforce into our businesses and grow our economy. The Smith Center Economic Development department is working to improve the quality and quantity of residential housing available. Our 2022 Economic Development Plan outlines two goals related to housing:
- Rehabilitate Current Housing Inventory through offering a mix of programs and incentives
- Build New Houses for families and those ready to downsize by leveraging local investment with state funds
One disincentive to rehabilitation or new construction is the increase in property taxes due to those improvements. Therefore, we've worked with the County and several Municipalities in the area to renew the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, effective December 5, 2022. This provides tax rebate on the incremental increase in property taxes from improvements to residential or commerical property that increase the value of the property $25,000 or more. For more information about this program, please see the Related Link at the bottom of this page.
Residential Clean Up Grant Program
The Smith Center Economic Development department's Residential Clean Up Grant allows property owners matching grants to clean up dilapidated houses, residential structures, or debris with the goals of increased property values for residential property in Smith Center, removal of nuisance properties, and reduced health and safety hazards for the community. These grants are reimbursement grants and must be approved before the clean up work begins.
Residential Revitalization Grant Program
The Smith Center Economic Development department's Residential Revitalization Grant provides an incentive to property owners to revitalize residential property in Smith Center with new homes, new structures, and/or property improvements that will increase the appraised property value. These grants are reimbursement grants and must be approved before the revitalization work begins.
Low Income Households - Weatherization Assistance Program
The North Central Regional Planning Commission operates a Weatherization Assistance Program that helps reduce energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety. Funding for this program is provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).
Eligibility for the Weatherization Program is based solely on income; verification is required (i.e. paystubs, unemployment, public assistance documents). All weatherization work is done at no cost to the individual resident. If the dwelling is a rental unit, the landlord must sign a landlord release form before any materials will be installed. Homes weatherized since September 30, 1994 are not eligible.
Weatherization of a home consists of the following:
- A pre-inspection to determine the amount of work necessary to weatherize the home, in addition to checking heating appliances for safety and efficiency.
- Furnaces found to be unsafe will be repaired, if possible, or replaced.
- Infiltration work such as patching foundation, caulking and weatherstripping windows and exterior doors; sealing or replacing broken glass.
- Wall and attic insulation will be considered. This is dependent upon the condition of wiring, roof condition, the amount of existing insulation, type of wall construction and siding.
- Gable or roof vents will be installed, as required.
- A final inspection will be conducted to determine if all the work has been completed.
For more information about this program, please click here or call NCRPC at (800) 432-0303.