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Should vacant buildings in downtown Canandaigua be taxed? Officials debate that possibility (video)

John Goodwin is the City Manager in Canandaigua. He says he’s always working to improve the lakefront city.

“There’s that sense when you enter Canandaigua that it’s home, so it’s home to us now and hopefully forever will be,” Goodwin said. And for me I just want to make it a better place than when I found it, and hopefully people will agree that I’m doing that.”

City officials consider taxing vacant buildings (video)

Making Canandaigua a better place is a topic of discussion right now for Goodwin and his fellow local officials.

City officials say vacancy tax could incentivize property owners

“We had a council member who was concerned about vacant commercial properties within the city, specifically some longer-term ones that have been vacant for not just months but years,” Goodwin said.

Like Acme Markets on South Main Street, which has been vacant for many years.

“She had an idea that she had seen that some other municipalities were around the country, and in some European countries, where they would have a fee or a tax on commercial properties,” explained Goodwin. “What it would be is that the property owner who is leasing that building is the one that is incentivized via a fee or a tax to fill that space.”

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Residents hope existing historic buildings are preserved

Some Canandaigua residents say they’re open to the idea, but hope historic structures are preserved if new business comes to the city.

“I want them to keep the history here, because up the street where they put in that bridal shop, it was an old nickel and dime store, they tore out all the original tiles that were in front of that shop and laid down concrete,” said Canandaigua resident Brendan Durnin.

Meanwhile, city officials say there’s no actual proposal on the table yet, they’re just talking about concepts right now.

“They’ll continue the discussion at the next ordinance meeting which is the third Tuesday in August for a continued discussion and see if they want to pursue drafting an ordinance or not,” said Goodwin.

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