Tax in­cen­tive by­laws drafted by town

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail

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.

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