Revelstoke revitalization tax exemption bylaw gets flat response

City staff flag issues with plan to create revitalization tax breaks, saying it's a big undertaking that needs to be considered carefully

City hall staff have given a proposed Revelstoke revitalization tax exemption bylaw a very tepid response, sending city council a report on the proposed bylaw that states why it’s not a good idea.

The proposed revitalization bylaw would give limited, temporary tax breaks to commercial property owners who improve their properties, or develop new ones. The idea is to offset the additional taxes property owners must pay because the improvements boost their property assessments, and therefore their taxes.

The discussion was prompted by request to council by Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. president Bart Larson, who is planning to build a new brewery, but says taxation levels in Revelstoke are prohibitive. Larson asked council to take action to reduce commercial property tax rates.

Council requested staff explore options, and the revitalization tax exemption bylaw was proposed. The bylaw is allowed for under provincial regulations.

However, a Jan. 21 report signed by staff from the finance, development services and economic development offices lists downsides.

First, they say the bylaw is typically geographically focused, designed to revitalize a certain area of town.

They say the revitalization bylaw should be supported by basic planning documents like the official community plan, which doesn’t currently support a revitalization bylaw.

In general, in the report staff express concern about the process leading to the proposed bylaw, saying there will be fairness issues if it’s perceived to be a special case bylaw. “If the scope is narrowed significantly to say, encourage the development of breweries in the community, how will this be viewed by other potential developers? Furthermore, how does a narrow scope of this nature meet Council’s goals and objectives?” they write.

Furthermore, they warn an unfocused, ad hoc bylaw could lead to unintended consequences down the road. Others would likely take advantage of the bylaw, eating into city tax revenues.

“The current consideration of a tax exemption bylaw is reactive to a specific situation when the full implications of utilizing such a tool would be better appreciated if discussed in a broader context,” they write.

Finally, city staff warn that developing the bylaw is time-consuming and costly.

They make no recommendation, other than to ask for council direction. The item is up for discussion at council’s Jan. 28 regular meeting.

In a story published in the Jan. 22 Times Review, brewery president Larson said the bylaw is key to brewery development plans.  “Proceeding depends a lot on this revitalization tax [bylaw],” Larson said.

***

For an update on this story, see the Feb. 5 print issue of the Revelstoke Times Review.

 

Just Posted

Muralist on board for Revelstoke’s LUNA Nocturnal Wonder festival

One of Kris Kupskay’s next projects is a mural on a 22… Continue reading

Chance of showers may not be enough to rid Okanagan of smoke

Wind and chance of thunderstorms competing factors in this week’s forecast

Darke Lake residents under evacuation alert

Fire crews battling wildfire in rural community west of Summerland

BC Wildfire crew rescues lost puppies

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

Casual memberships now available through the Kootenay Carshare Coop

The Kooteany Carshare Cooperative is now offering a new casual membership. Waving… Continue reading

Filmmaker captures the smoke that enveloped the Shuswap

Check out this video of the haze that blanketed Salmon Arm

Canadian Armed Forces in the Okanagan to help firefighters

Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Vernon Thursday, being deployed to West Kelowna fire

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

Blaze near Olalla grows to 527 hectares

The Old Tom Creek fire that started Aug. 15 is burning near Keremeos

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

Most Read