FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Fairbanks North Star Borough will consider an ordinance to exempt historic properties from paying property tax if they are owned by nonprofit organizations.
Assemblywoman Nancy Webb said owners flinch at the idea of renovating historic buildings because of the subsequent increase in property taxes, Webb said.
Judith Bittner, state historic preservation officer, wrote a letter to the borough administration saying tax breaks for historic properties are a common practice in the Lower 48. She did not know if any municipalities in Alaska give similar tax breaks.
Webb has two properties in mind as beneficiaries of her proposal: the Masonic Temple and the Rebekah Lodge.
Jack Coghill, treasurer of Fairbanks Historical Preservation Society and a member of the Masons, said Webb's proposal may save the historic temple.
The membership is split on whether to tear down the building, which needs work, or to preserve it. The Masons pay about $5,800 a year in property taxes, according to Coghill.
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