Non-profit organizations can breathe easy for the upcoming 2014 budget deliberations, at least as far as property tax is concerned.
Council approved an updated sustainable finance policy, which for now does not include a limit on the amount of permissive tax exemptions the city can grant places of worship, non-profit organizations, private schools or other eligible tenants who apply.
According to the 2010 version of the policy, the exemptions could not "exceed 1.5 per cent of the annual municipal tax levy." That restriction has been removed from the current
Last year, the policy caused some panic as the more than $1.2 million worth of estimated exemptions brought the 2012 percentage to 1.54 per cent of the annual tax levy.
In order to make the it even across the board, council voted last October to cut the exemption to 97 per cent and later restored the funding in the budget with a one-time grant of $80,000 in February.
According to finance and audit committee chair Coun. Cameron Stolz, more work is coming on the issue of the permissive tax exemptions
"Given the fact there is ongoing work there we felt it was in the best interest to push forward with that for this year, recognizing it will be dealt with next year as we go through the consultation process...," he said.
According to staff, figures which will come to council next month have the latest round of applications already exceeding the now-former 1.5 per cent cap.
Business licence fees approved
Council went ahead with the third reading on changes to the business licence bylaw, which adds the $155 fee for residential buildings with one or two rental units.
No one spoke at the public hearing, but public safety and civic facilities director Rob Whitwham addressed questions posed to council in an email, including queries about how the city plans to identify undeclared units.
"Property assessment records will assist in that regard," said Whitwham, adding that investigation of illegal suite complaints and checking rental ads against the list of legal declared suites will also be used. "Compliance with zoning and building code requirements determine if a secondary suite is legal."