Tax incentive bylaws drafted by town
The town is working on a pair of bylaws which would provide tax incentives for new businesses and ones moving into vacant buildings.
Draft bylaws were presented to council at their meeting on November 13 which would waive municipal property taxes for new businesses in town for their first year, subject to administration’s approval. In addition, businesses who move into buildings vacant for a minimum for three months could see development and business license fees waived.
The bylaw comes from recommendations of the Economic Development Task Force and were brought to council by councillor Fred Makowecki. The move is part of a number of projects and initiatives from the town to at- tract and retain businesses to Drumheller, including upcoming bylaws such as ensuring businesses along the tourism corridor are clean and tidy, changes to the storefront improvement grant for downtown businesses, and the installation of the summer plaza and public artwork downtown.
“There are so many other things percolating that are tied together,” says councillor Makowecki.
The rationale behind these draft bylaws is to bring more business to Drumheller, which increases the tax base, creates more reasons for people and other businesses to move here, and also gives new businesses with assistance in their first year of business, which is often the most difficult.
“If taxes remain exactly the same, we’re going to keep the existing businesses and residences to fund the operation of the town. The only way to affect that, is by looking at the budget and microscopically look at expenses and also look at incentives to bring more tax base to town. That means more jobs, more places to go shopping, and make Drumheller more attractive for people to move here.
The municipal property tax waiver would come in effect for the year following completion of construction. Additions, expansions, and renovations would be eligible only if the assessed value of the new improvement is greater than or equal to $50,000 more than the previous improvement assessment.
The bylaws received feedback from council at the meeting and are expected to be brought back at a meeting this month.