Urban Revitalization Program

The City of Dubuque Urban Revitalization Program, based on Chapter 404 of the Code of Iowa, encourages the revitalization of buildings in the community’s older neighborhoods by offering a property tax exemption for new improvements made to qualified residential, multi-residential and commercially assessed properties.

In 2018, the City Council combined and expanded a number of smaller Urban Revitalization areas into the Dubuque Urban Revitalization Area. The Dubuque Urban Revitalization Area includes 7,266 properties and encompasses 1,801 acres. As a result of the expansion, more Dubuque property owners are eligible for a property tax exemption on the assessed valuations from improvements to their property. The Dubuque Urban Revitalization Area Plan lists all the included property addresses (pages 13-142) and can be viewed and downloaded here.

How to Qualify for Urban Revitalization Property Tax Exemptions

  • Property must be within an Urban Revitalization area.
  • For the Dubuque Urban Revitalization Area, the building’s assessed valuation must increase by at least 10% for residential or by 15% for multi-residential or commercial property to be eligible for tax exemptions. Note, this required increase in assessed valuation is based on the existing building valuation, not the total property valuation which includes the land value. The increase in assessed valuation is determined by the Dubuque County City Assessor at the Courthouse.

How to Apply

The application form for improvements in 2020 is due by February 1, 2021.

  • Submit a completed and signed application form by February 1 for improvements made during the previous calendar year. Remember to include the building permit number.
  • After an application form is submitted, a City housing or building inspector may contact the applicant to review the improvements or the application.
  • After review by City staff, conforming applications are presented to the City Council which forwards them to the Dubuque County City Assessor for final review and certification of the new assessed valuation. Conforming applications that meet the required percentage increase in assessed valuation are then forwarded from the City Assessor to the County Auditor for the appropriate tax exemption to be applied to the property’s tax assessment. The City Assessor will notify the applicant of the determination of assessed valuation of the improvements and if property tax exemption is approved. This decision may be appealed to the board of review.

Property Tax Exemption Benefits

  • For the Dubuque Urban Revitalization Area, the following table shows the percentage increase in assessed valuation needed to qualify for Urban Revitalization, and the number of years of property tax exemption on the increased valuation, broken down by property classification.
Assessed Property ClassPercent Increase in Assessed ValueYears of Tax Exemption
on increased Valuation
 Residential 10% 10-years on 100% of increased valuation
 Multi-Residential 15% 10-years on 100% of increased valuation
 Commercial 15% 3-years on 100% of increased valuation

Housing Developers 

Housing developers requesting Urban Revitalization Designation to support quality, affordable housing development outside an existing Urban Revitalization Area should submit a petition for designation at least 60 days prior to application deadline to ensure timely response to the request.  To obtain a petition for designation, please contact Alexis Steger by email or at 563.589.4230.

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