The owners of Gaithersburg’s historic properties are getting some financial help with preserving their local treasures.
The Montgomery County Council adopted a bill on July 16 to increase the county’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit from 10 percent to 25 percent of the cost of the owner’s project. The tax credit applies to about 100 properties in the City of Gaithersburg.
To apply for the credit, a property owner must complete a restoration project, then submit proof of the expenditures, according to Matt Bowling of Gaithersburg’s Historic District Commission. Project expenditures that qualify for the credit have included masonry and chimney repairs, re-painting siding, restoring windows and replacing porch flooring. The city submits the applications to the county, which can approve or deny the tax credit.
Applications are usually submitted to the city between April and June, Bowling said. The city has received a handful of applications this year, but the 25 percent tax credit will not kick in until April 2014.
In 2012, city property owners were awarded about $63,000 in tax credits for historic preservation projects, according to a release from the city of Gaithersburg. Bowling said the city is hoping the increased credit amount will spur more applications in 2014.
“If you own a historic property, this is a great opportunity to invest,” he said.
Historic districts in Gaithersburg include properties on Brookes Avenue, Russell Avenue and Walker Avenue, known as the Brookes, Russell and Walker District, and Chestnut Street and Meem Avenue, known as the Chestnut/Meem Historic District.
Gaithersburg resident John Wright owns the Amiss House, a 1877 Folk Victorian home on Water Street. He and his wife, Claire, applied for the 10 percent tax credit to pay for storm window replacement and restoration.
One summer, he removed the lead-tainted paint from the home’s exterior and re-painted it himself.
The upkeep of the home is demanding, Claire said, but necessary.
“It’s a part of owning this house,” she said.
Martha Kern, also a Gaithersburg resident, owns a home on Brookes Avenue. The 1997 house does not have historical significance, but it is part of the historic Brookes district.
“We still have to keep up with painting, siding, windows,” Kern said.
Kern applied for the tax credit after making repairs to the home’s roof and gutter, replacing window ledges and re-painting its exterior. The total cost of the project was about $3,260, according to city documents.
“These older communities have to have a lot of loving care,” Kern said.