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Sharon Franklin of Odenton, center, shopping with her granddaughter Sahmia Brown, lower left, opted for fruit and vegetables during a visit to Lexington Market.
Sharon Franklin of Odenton, center, shopping with her granddaughter Sahmia Brown, lower left, opted for fruit and vegetables during a visit to Lexington Market. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun)

The Rawlings-Blake administration on Monday plans to introduce a bill authorizing tax breaks for supermarkets that are built in Baltimore's food deserts.

The bill, which is scheduled to be filed with the City Council, would allow supermarkets built within a quarter mile of a city food desert to forego 80 percent of their personal property taxes for 10 years.

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The bill also authorizes the breaks for supermarkets that undergo significant renovations in parts of Baltimore that would be food deserts were it not for those markets.

The tax breaks could be worth more than $100,000 annually based on the size and value of the markets.

About one in four Baltimoreans live in a food desert, an area defined as being more than a quarter mile away from a supermarket, and with high levels of poverty.

"Supermarkets are committed to providing food access, yet they often have policy and financial barriers that make it difficult for them to do so," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "This credit is a critical tool in attracting and retaining high quality retailers in Baltimore's food deserts, and providing residents with the food access they want and need."

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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