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Virginia's Vacant Buildings Bill Could Revitalize Local Cities

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Under a bill heading to Gov. Bob McDonnell, some historic Virginia cities could get an economic boost without imposing extra taxes on the localities, or getting more funding from the state.

Del. Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg says her vacant building bill will help restore her city and those like it. She says the measure would allow officials to raise registration fees, as well as impose penalties on folks that are not taking care of their properties.

Those penalties would increase the annual registration fee on the owner of a derelict building from $25 to $100. The civil penalty for failing to register that building increases from $50 to $200, and from $250 to $400, if that building is in a designated conservation or rehabilitation district.

Dance says ultimately, the goal is to boost tourism. She adds as many as 15 Virginia cities could benefit from this bill.

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