By unanimous vote the City Council on Tuesday approved a plan which officials hope will increase investment and lower the cost of doing business in Heflin.

Known as the Main Street Incentive Plan, it provides for improvement of building facades, sales tax rebates and historic tax credits for use by business owners and developers.

Tanya Maloney, economic developer for the city, called the vote “awesome.”

“I’m really excited about it because it gives us a uniform policy,” Maloney said.

Maloney said the plan will give building owners incentive to spruce up and maintain their properties and help with new investments in older buildings.

“The cool thing about this incentive is that it’s not spending money — it would be new money generated for the city through renovations through their buildings,” Maloney said.

According to Heflin Main Street, the sales and use tax rebate program will offer a rebate of city noneducational sales taxes paid on locally purchased construction materials and equipment used to remodel, rehabilitate, reuse or build an approved structure in downtown Heflin. A property owner is required to spend at least $20,000 to be eligible for the rebate program.

The tax rebate will equal 50 percent of city noneducational sales taxes collected in connection with an approved project during the time it would normally take to complete it.

Offices can receive a full incentive rate if the proposed office uses a street-facing, first floor storefront for retail, restaurant or entertainment related purposes, or the proposed office includes a residential unit.

The facade improvement grant program is funded by Heflin Main Street to facilitate improvements or repairs to exterior commercial facades. A 50/50 matching grant is available up to $1000 and is not required to be repaid. No minimum expenditure is required.

The federal historic tax credit includes a 20 percent tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures and a 10 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation of non-historic, non-residential buildings built before 1936.

The Alabama historic tax credit provides a 25 percent refundable tax credit available for private homeowners and owners of commercial properties 60 years or older. The properties must be listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Alabama credit is similar to the federal credit, but only reduces Alabama income taxation.