Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, June 07, 2004

Tax break sought on Elmendorf project

Anchorage officials are negotiating a deal that could save a local development company millions of dollars in property taxes on a private housing project it built and manages on Elmendorf Air Force Base.

JL Properties objected to the 2004 tax bill on its $110 million Elmendorf project, the first private military housing arrangement of its kind in Alaska.

The company pushed a measure through the Alaska Legislature in the closing days of this year's session allowing a special tax exemption to reduce future payments to the city.

Gov. Frank Murkowski has not yet signed it into law. A former state legislator is threatening a lawsuit if he does, saying the measure is special interest legislation.

City officials and JL Properties are considering a deal that would enable the company to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars less each year than it would have had to pay under this year's tax bill. The deal could save the company millions of dollars in taxes over the next 50 years.

Company president Leonard Hyde said that without a tax break it can't move forward on the second, larger phase of residential development on the base. Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich supports the deal.

In 2001, the Air Force awarded a contract to Aurora Military Housing - made up of JL Properties and Hunt Building Corp. of San Antonio, Texas - to renovate, build and manage base housing at Elmendorf.

The Department of Defense has awarded 30 such private housing contracts at bases across the country, allowed under the Private Sector Housing Initiative approved by Congress in 1996.

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