County Council approves tax break for long-term affordable housing

LIHUE — For Tina Sakamoto, the approval of a beneficial tax-rate bill is a step in the right direction.

“It finally appears that after much discussion, this bill is finally moving forward to promote the county’s affordable-housing program and participating landowners,” she said.

On Wednesday, Sakamoto spoke about Bill No. 2659, which offers tax benefits for people who rent their property for long-term, affordable housing.

That same day, the Kauai County Council unanimously approved the bill, which sets a long-term, affordable-rental limit between 80 percent and 100 percent of Kauai’s median household income.

Under the bill, if landlords rent their properties for long-term, affordable housing, they will be privy to paying the homestead rate, which is $3.05 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Property owners can apply for the beneficial tax rate on a single-year and multi-year basis.

An owner with a multi-year written lease can apply for the tax rate for each year that the lease is in effect, for a maximum of three years. After three years, the landlord can file an affidavit to confirm the units are still being rented as long-term, affordable housing, according to the bill.

During the meeting, councilmembers took the time to acknowledge Sakamoto for her work toward a solution to affordable housing.

“It’s been a very delicate balancing act, and Tina deserves credit for the bill that is before us,” said Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura. “I know it’s not perfect in her eyes, but it’s better, and we are going to monitor it and see how things work.”

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