Since at least 2005, the City has been quietly running one more program that helps incentivize improvements in lower income housing, including improvements that may create future savings for tenants. Payment in Lieu of Taxes or 'PILOT' is a program that allows non-profit lower incoming housing providers to apply to the City for the temporary relief of a portion of a building's property taxes as a way for the non-profit to help finance building improvements. For example, the Council just approved a project with Essex House on Maple Avenue that will allow the non-profit to replace all of the building's air conditioners (chillers), boilers and water heaters and make other upgrades, seeking to get a 20-25% reduction in total energy use in the building.
As part of the financing to make this possible, for Essex House, the Council agreed to lower property taxes for four years between 2013 and 2016 for a total contribution of $95,000.
Between 2005-2020, the City has or will provide approximately $670,000 in property tax relief (abatement) for lower income buildings and partnerships undertaking such projects - this covers 12 buildings so far (see graph).
I think this program represents one of the quietest facets of Takoma Park's multi-front effort to maintain the socioeconomic diversity of our community.