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Batavia aldermen OK changes to facade grant program

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – The Batavia City Council on Monday approved changes to the city’s facade and downtown improvement grant program.

“There will be a lot tougher screening for applicants,” 7th Ward Alderman Dave Brown said.

As part of the changes to the facade grant program, the property owner must be a co-applicant with any business requesting assistance. The changes also include a “claw-back” provision where if the owner sells the building within a specified period, a portion of the grant would be refunded to the city. The city is proposing a three-year period, with 100 percent refunded within the first year, 66 percent within the second year, and 33 percent within the third year.

City staff from now on will do an economic development assessment of the project’s impact or value for the City Council’s consideration prior to approval. A financial analysis of the tenant will also be done, including looking at financial statements and tax returns, and doing credit and background checks.

Tuck pointing will now be an allowed improvement for grant eligibility, however, under a one-time only provision.

The changes to the downtown improvement grant program include that the property owner must be co-applicant with any business requesting assistance. The “claw-back” provision also would apply to the program.

A financial analysis also would be done as part of the changes to the program. In addition, the new rules would restrict the allowable improvements for grant eligibility to accessibility improvements and permanent, code-related construction and remodeling (i.e. electric, plumbing, etc.).

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