Vidor makes progress on Pride and Progress

Posted by T Bussinger. Posted in Front Page

By: Sharon Brooks - The Examiner

With Orange County recently agreeing to tax abatements related to the program and numerous substandard structures identified by code enforcers having already been demolished, the city of Vidor is making excellent progress in its “Pride and Progress” initiative, reports City Manager Mike Kunst.

“It’s going well,” said Kunst. “We’ve already demolished several structures and have provided dumpsters at locations where there’s new construction or demolition by the owner.”

In January, The Examiner reported that Vidor would be providing tax abatements in five reinvestment zones inside the city for new residential construction and for substantial home improvements totaling $15,000 or more in an effort to draw in more residents and more businesses. In addition to the tax abatements being offered to promote growth, city code enforcers have been working to identify substandard residential buildings for potential demolition to make Vidor a more attractive place to live and work. The city also provides dumpsters within the reinvestment zones for qualifying construction projects and demolitions by owners.

The actions are part of the city’s Pride and Progress initiative, and on July 12, Vidor received a boost to the program from the county. Orange County commissioners agreed to participate by offering additional residential tax abatements for new construction and substantial improvements, creating an even larger savings for potential homebuilders and owners looking to renovate or enhance their properties.

Kunst provided an example of the savings builders could expect.

“For construction of a new home worth $100,000, owners can expect a savings of more than $6,000 over seven years. With the tax abatements from the county, they’ll save a couple thousand more, approximately $8,000.”

The attractive prospect is bound to draw in more builders over time, said Kunst.

In January, the city had already identified three substandard structures and marked them for demolition. Four buildings at three addresses, 1140 N. Tannahill, 870 Kent and 535 Woodland, displayed red tag notices indicating their condemnation. Those structures are now gone, and the lots are ready for construction. In addition to those demolitions, Kunst said the city has torn down four other structures at three other locations and hopes to do more once the city budget allows.

“We have to pace ourselves a little because there is more need than funds right now, but there are several on the list of substandard structures already identified,” Kunst explained.

Kunst said now that the city and Orange County are both participating in Pride and Progress, residential homebuilders have good reason to consider construction in Vidor.

“If you build a home in one of our five reinvestment zones, you will have the lowest tax rates available in Orange County,” he surmised.