Review of tax exemption bylaw

Review of Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 1018, 2012 was presented at the Oct. 18 District of Houston council meeting.

Review of Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 1018, 2012 was presented at the Oct. 18 District of Houston council meeting.

As stated in the bylaw, the purpose of this program is to give exemptions to businesses that are fostering economic growth and community revitalization by providing an incentive to owners of eligible commercial and industrial lands to invest in improvements to their lands in order to increase capacity productivity and employment levels in the District of Houston.

This bylaw is set to expire Oct. 31, 2016. Currently there are five property owners that were granted exemption under this bylaw, and they will still be able to claim tax exemption as long as their agreement hasn’t expired or been violated.

“Any approved tax exemptions which were granted over the course of the bylaw will continue to be provided, so long as their exemption has not passed the five year expiry limit or breached the tax exemption agreement. No submissions may be received until after a new bylaw has been adopted to replace this bylaw,” commented Gerald Pinchbeck, Chief Election Officer and Corporate Services Officer for the District of Houston.

It was recommended that council let the bylaw expire and replace it following the selection of an individual to fill the vacant director of finance position.

However, there was some concerns about the length of time this may take and how that might affect new business.

“We’re hoping that at some point in time someone will come and open a grocery story, [and my concern is] depending on what we do and what route they want to go, would this not be a deterrent should somebody come along with the intention to renew it?” commented councillor Rick Lundrigan.

At the meeting council agreed to let the bylaw expire with the intention to amend it immediately instead of waiting to fill the vacant Director of Finance position, in case this would be an incentive for the next potential grocery store.

As directed by council, on Nov. 1, 2016 staff will present a bylaw to extend the term of the tax exemption.