August 21, 2002 11:00 pm

Owners of historic buildings in La Grande, especially those in the commercial historic district, can attend a seminar Monday to learn how they can get a tax break on rehabilitation of the buildings.

The seminar will be at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Topics of discussion will be the Oregon Special Assessment of Historic Property and federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs.

Dave Skilton of the State Historic Preservation Office will be present to discuss the programs and answer questions.

The programs serve as incentives for owners of historic buildings to reinvest in their properties in a manner that is consistent with the historic character of the buildings.

With the Oregon Special Assessment of Historic Property, when an application is made and the plans are approved, the assessed value of the property is frozen for a period of 15 years at the pre-investment level.

This can save the property owners a considerable sum of money as they carry out improvements over the 15 years.

Depreciable properties are eligible for a 15-year extension of the special assessment at the end of the first 15 years.

For income producing properties, the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit provides a federal income tax credit equal to 20 percent of qualifying expenditures.

Both programs use the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation to judge proposals, and they both can be used on the same project.

Anyone with questions can call the city's Landmark Commission Staff at 962-1307.