The Mills Act
What is the Mills Act ?
The Mills Act is a state law allowing cities to enter into agreements with the owners of historic structures. Such agreements require a reduction of property taxes in exchange for the continued preservation of the property. Property taxes are recalculated using a formula in the Mills Act and Revenue and Taxation Code. The City Council approves the use of Mills Act agreements with owners of designated historic properties. The Mills Act is used by the Community Development Department as an incentive for the preservation of local historic buildings. In Corona, the Mills Act requires that historic property owners spend the property tax money that is saved through the Mills Act on preserving and/or restoring their property.
Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for the Mills Act in the City of Corona, a building must first be designated by the City of Corona as a Landmark Property by action of the City Council.
Contact Terri Manuel in the Corona Community Development Department (951) 736-2299 for information on the Mills Act application procedures.
How It Works
The Mills Act law enables the City Council to enter into 10-year agreements with owners of historic properties. Under these agreements (“Mills Act agreements”) owners agree to maintain and if necessary rehabilitate their historic structures. Mills Act agreements have a minimum term of 10 years and are automatically renewed annually for an additional year. Thus, unless the City or the owner files a notice of non-renewal, a Mills Act agreement always has a term of 10 years. Either the property owner or the City may elect not to renew for any reason. The effect of non-renewal is to terminate the agreement at the end of the current 10-year term. During the remainder of the agreement term, the property taxes increase gradually to the normal level. The owner may also petition the City to cancel the Mills Act agreement. Cancellation requires assessment of a penalty of 12½% of pre-Mills Act valuation. The City may also cancel the agreement, but only in the case of breach of the agreement conditions. Once a Mills Act agreement is terminated for any reason, the property owner’s taxes increase to the level they would have been at but for the Mills Act agreement. Each property owner should consult with his/her own counsel concerning the advisability of entering into a Mills Act agreement prior to filling out an application. (See the Historic Property Preservation Program (Landmark Property) link on the Corona Historic Preservation Society website LINKS tab or on the City of Corona’s website for Landmark Property procedures.)