Hope revitalization tax exemption bylaw to be updated

Proposed changes made to make bylaw easier to read and more accessible

Several updates are being proposed to make the revitalization tax exemption bylaw clearer and more accessible.

After further consultation, district staff have gone back to the drawing board and made changes to the bylaw which was originally adopted last November.

The bylaw allows council to enter into an agreement with property owners within the designated areas and upon issuance of an exemption certificate to the assessor, those improvements are exempt from a portion of municipal property value taxes for a period of seven to 10 years. The time period for all projects must be dated prior to Sept. 30, 2018.

“Council wants to encourage as much economic development as possible within the aims of the Official Community Plan,” said chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky. “The aims of the revitalization tax exemption program are to encourage industrial, commercial and downtown development and improvement.”

The new revised bylaw clearly defines the zoning where exemptions are applicable, the process of valuing improvements where permits are not required, and includes information regarding the exemption certificate so it better conforms to the Community Charter. The exemption agreement, which is separate from the bylaw, has also been improved to meet provincial and municipal requirements.

In addition, staff have proposed reducing the amounts required to qualify for both commercial and downtown revitalization of new construction to $400,000 from $500,000.

“We really want to attract new construction in those zones, so this is a bit of an added incentive,” said Fortoloczky.

“We’ve also made the document more clear, easier to read and the process easier to follow.”

Another addition to the bylaw is an application fee of $100 to cover the staff time required in the process to enact all of the agreements.

The revised revitalization tax exemption bylaw will be presented to council at the July 28 meeting for adoption.