New Fire Sprinkler Tax Incentive Could Help Charlevoix Businesses

Fires torn through several downtown Charlevoix businesses in the last couple of years, but a new tax incentive could prevent future fires.

For months it seemed like one fire after another hit businesses in Charlevoix.

And while the recovery continues, they each have been devastating.

Most recently was a fire back in January at Harbor View Café, taking down a spa next door and causing smoke damage to others.

Before that was Cherry Republic in 2016  that also damaged nearby businesses.

And in November of 2016, a fire took out Johan’s Bakery, Round Lake Gallery, while damaging businesses nearby.

“I was working the day in November down there and you start to see all the smoke and immediately, you start calling your friends because you know all the business owners and ‘are you okay, everything alright?’” said owner of Color Wear, Debbie Angermuller.

“Each of the fires that we dealt with, was devastating both for the individuals involved and the businesses around them,” said city manager Mark Heydlauff.

Now a tax incentive could potentially help the city in the future.

Small businesses can now deduct the cost of installing a fire sprinkler system on their federal taxes, up to one million dollars each year of the expense.

They can also deduct the interest if they get a loan for a renovation.

“It’s really a burden for business owners and building owners for fire suppression systems and the installation of them is very expensive,” said Heydlauff. “This is a way of recognizing the investment that building and business owners make in their businesses and in the buildings that they have in keeping them around for the long haul.”

These fire sprinkler systems, the only tool that can reduce the spread of fire and smoke until the fire department arrives.

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