Council voted to extend the Permissive Tax Exemption (PTE) for the Lions Villa seniors housing complex through 2013, but will revisit the issue next summer before granting another.
PTEs waive municipal taxes for non-profit entities with criteria set out in the Community Charter.
The Lions Club approached the village with another PTE request for the facility, which now has an inventory of 30 units after 22 more were completed this year. The new units have yet to be assessed or taxed, so no revenue would be lost via the exemption, but a staff report estimated village taxes would exceed $7,000.
Council wrestled with the decision on a couple of fronts. Coun. Ted Craddock highlighted the significant village contributions to the project to date and questioned if the facility was “an extension of municipal services” as set out in the PTE criteria.
However, he also noted the Lions Club’s major investment into the project, as the group borrowed $100,000 to cover the facility’s final costs when B.C. Housing said the 22-unit project exceeded its budget. Considering that, council questioned if it was fair to tax the group at this time.
“That’s going to put the burden on the Lions Society,” said Coun. James Linklater.
Timing was ultimately the deciding factor, as the PTE must be granted by Oct. 31 to be applicable to 2013. A special meeting will be required to pass the exemption in time.
Council also passed a motion requesting the Lions Club provide a report by June if it intends to seek a PTE for 2014 and beyond.
Frontage fees apply to all
Pemberton landowners are still required to pay water and sewer frontage taxes regardless of whether they’re connected to those systems, council determined during its Tuesday meeting.
Local resident Mary Van De Wetering, whose property is not connected to the village’s water and sewer lines, had her request to waive her frontage fees denied by council, which supported a staff recommendation to not make the exception.
Van De Wetering wrote a letter, received by council last month, requesting that her frontage fees be waived since she is not connected.
In a report to council, manager of finance Nikki Gilmore explained that all properties are taxed regardless if they are hooked up to water and sewer mains and waiving the fees for one property could be a precedent-setting decision.
“This tax is a direct correlation to the village’s annual debt payment obligations and is charged on a set dollar-per-metre of frontage,” said the report.
Van De Wetering’s property faces a unique challenge because of its location across Highway 99 from the industrial park, which would require a connection under the road at great expense.
However, the staff report said there are no allowances in Pemberton’s bylaws to waive the fees due to high connection costs, adding that even properties with statutory tax exemptions such as St. David’s Church are required to pay the frontage taxes.
The staff recommendation was supported unanimously.
Snow must be cleared
Owners and tenants with snowy sidewalks in front of their properties will have to clear them by 7 a.m., according to the Boulevard Maintenance Bylaw that received first three readings on Tuesday.
However, the village will still be clearing the sidewalks on major “arterial routes” as set out in the Snow and Ice Removal Policy that will likely be approved later this month.
The draft bylaw came to council specifying that only commercial properties were required to shovel sidewalks, but the wording was changed to put the onus on all properties. Both Mayor Jordan Sturdy and Craddock said it would be “cumbersome” to define in legislation where the village is responsible for snow removal.
Final reading is anticipated at the Oct. 16 council meeting.