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PILOT program takes aim at sprucing up Mt. Leo
Mt Leo mess

In an effort to jump start improvements in the Mt. Leo area, all property owners have been sent a letter informing them of the PILOT program offered by McMinnville and Warren County governments.

“It’s a program that incentivizes commercial renovation and development,” said PILOT executive director Mike Weatherspoon. “It applies to any property that’s zoned commercial.”

PILOT stands for Payment in Lieu of Taxes. The program freezes property values at their rate before upgrades are made.

If your property is appraised at $50,000, for example, and you are accepted into the PILOT program for 10 years, you will continue to be taxed at the $50,000 rate for those 10 years. Even if you make $2 million in improvements to the property, you will continue to be taxed at $50,000.

It can result in huge financial savings.

When asked about sending informational letters to all Mt. Leo property owners, Weatherspoon said, “We certainly want to do anything we can to help the situation.”

While there are some nice businesses in Mt. Leo, many commercial properties in that area have been allowed to deteriorate. It’s caught the attention of McMinnville city administrator Nolan Ming, who says Mt. Leo is on his radar as an area he’d like for the city to focus on upgrades.

Any meaningful improvement will take a combined effort from city government and private property owners. Without that collaboration, deteriorating property will still exist behind sparkling city streets.

The PILOT program can freeze taxes for a period from 5 to 15 years, depending on the terms that are accepted. 

The program is administered by the McMinnville Downtown Revenue Finance Corporation. Properties must be accepted into the program before work begins. The program is available city-wide.

If you would like more information on the PILOT program, contact Weatherspoon at (931) 212-6498, or