Pincher Creek tax-exemption bylaw passes first reading

·2 min read

Business and property owners in Pincher Creek thinking of adding structural improvements to their property might soon be eligible to get a leg up from the municipal government.

In an effort to encourage business development and investment in the town, Pincher Creek council passed first reading of Bylaw 1629 during its May 24 meeting.

“This is a bylaw that has been kicked around for a while,” said Coun. Sahra Nodge. “This is a policy shift for the Town of Pincher Creek.”

Providing some sort of tax exemption is part of the town’s community economic development strategy. The draft bylaw stipulates property owners can apply for exemption from the municipal portion of their property taxes if they add a new construction or structural improvement worth at least $25,000.

The exemption would apply only to the municipal portion of the improvement assessment, not the land or the provincial requisition or Pincher Creek Foundation portion of property taxes.

Applications for the tax exemption would go through the CAO’s office before coming to council, who would pass a resolution accepting or refusing the application. Applications would be responded to within 60 days of submission, with a written response provided to the applicant within 14 days of council’s decision.

To be considered, applications would need to have a notarized statement from a third-party construction firm that the costs of the improvement are accurate. If property owners utilize their own labour, a letter from a third-party accounting firm affirming the costs would be required.

All relevant building, development and occupancy permits would also be required.

Granted tax exemptions would be in place for three years and would be upheld should the bylaw be amended or repealed. Breaching terms of the agreements, such as owing tax arrears on the property, could lead to the exemption being cancelled — though council would need to approve such cancellation. Property owners would have 30 days to apply for review of cancellations.

If passed, the bylaw would be reviewed every second year to allow for possible amendments and repealing. Second and third reading will come before council after the bylaw receives a handful of suggested edits, such as whether the exemption will continue to apply to new owners of the property if the original applicant sells.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze

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