September 11, 2013 - 2:23 PM
Councillors unhappy some groups qualify
KAMLOOPS – The list of non-profit groups and places of worship qualifying for property tax exemptions is under the magnifying glass of some councillors in Kamloops.
The opportunity to apply for property tax exemptions in Kamloops started nearly a decade ago. While there was little concern over places of worship some councillors wanted to see B.C. Assessment look more closely at churches to ensure they are being used as just that. Only councillors Donovan Cavers, Arjun Singh and Nelly Dever agreed with the motion from Coun. Nancy Bepple to ask the assessment agency to look in to it but every councillor weighed in on whether certain groups should qualify as non-profit.
“I'm really in favour of non profits that provide services for the community.” Coun. Tina Lange said early on. “How do we decide? Because some of these aren't social services.”
Using examples of shooting ranges, curling clubs, riding clubs and even the Chamber of Commerce, councillors all argued similar points prompting a frustrated Mayor Peter Milobar to step in to remind everyone of how much work has already been done on this bylaw.
“We've workshopped this, we've had time to research and a lot of discussion,” Milobar said. “Staff has put them on because they meet the criteria.... If someone doesn't feel someone should have a tax exemption, you can make a motion.”
Staff reviewed the protocols set out in the bylaw that note a funding cap and how that structure would work if it is reached, which it has not this year, and also how and when council can choose to remove any particular group.
Having the ability to remove some groups after holding a public hearing in October seemed to placate councillors and everyone voted to move the list through to the first stage of bylaws. The first readings will be given later this month and then the bylaw can be adopted after the Oct. 8 public hearing. Council can choose to remove any of the groups on the list prior to the adoption of the bylaw.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013