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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Grand Jury Finds Historic Buildings Gut Tax Base

San Diego has its share of historically significant buildings, maybe more than its fair share. Those old buildings are costing the city a ton of cash in lost taxes, according to a report released March 19.

In a report issued by the county grand jury, the city’s 822 historic properties, the most of any city in California, resulted in the loss of $607,571 in taxes that would have gone to the city’s general fund. The San Diego Unified School District lost nearly $1.5 million, the report found.

Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a press statement that the law covering how buildings are designated as historic, the Mills Act, needs changing.

Among the proposals to amend the act are imposing an annual limit on the number of buildings named historic; increasing the initial fee for the designation from $100 to $590; making eligibility requirements more stringent; and requiring a property inspection before historic designation is granted.

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The city scheduled a series of public workshops on the issue starting April 18 at 2 p.m., in the City Council committee room on the 12th floor of the City Administration Building, 202 C St. The workshops are to conclude by the fall, with recommendations going first to a council committee and then to the full council for action by the end of the year, according to a press statement by Sanders’ office.

, Mike Allen

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